On June 17, the City of Alexandria submitted a Petition for a Declaratory Order to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), a federal oversight body. The Petition seeks a determination that Norfolk Southern’s Ethanol Transloading Facility, while located on Norfolk Southern property, is not the railroad’s facility and is operated by a private, non-rail carrier operator, RSI Leasing; therefore, the facility is subject to the City’s zoning authority and permit requirements.
Norfolk Southern has claimed that under STB precedent, the new ethanol facility is a railroad facility, and thus is not required to comply with the City's zoning and other regulations.
If, however, the STB determines that the site is a railroad facility, the Petition seeks an alternative order directing Norfolk Southern to comply with federal regulations governing the transloading of ethanol by a railroad. These regulations require that the ethanol from a rail tank car be offloaded to a permanent storage tank with the capacity to hold the rail car’s entire contents.