About STB > Office: OEEAA
The Office of Economics, Environmental Analysis, and Administration (OEEAA) is responsible for the economic, cost, financial, engineering, and environmental analyses in cases before the Surface Transportation Board (STB). We also provide the administrative support for the agency, including building and space management, human relations management, and computer systems support.
The office has a staff of 55 professionals, including varied vocations such as: economists, accountants, financial analysts, engineers, transportation industry analysts, environmental protection specialists, attorneys, computer programmers, personnel specialists, and a variety of administrative support staff.
The primary activities and responsibilities of the office are identified and briefly discussed below.Economic Analysis
OEEAA supports the STB's decision making process through economic, cost, financial, and engineering analyses. Typically, the types of cases that we are involved in include: railroad maximum rate proceedings, rail mergers, abandonments, rail line construction, and trackage rights matters. We conduct the cost analyses, institute rulemakings, and maintain the STB's user fee program.
In addition, we also prescribe accounting and reporting rules and requirements for regulated railroads, maintain an audit program to ensure compliance, and provide current data on the financial condition of individual railroads as well as the industry overall.
OEEAA also collects and maintains data bases, including the rail waybill file as well as annual and quarterly financial and operating data for rail carriers. We develop the annual Uniform Rail Cost System estimate (URCS), which is the STB's general purpose costing system used for a variety of purposes such as the jurisdictional determination in rail maximum rate cases, calculating off branch costs in abandonment cases, and developing cost estimates in conjunction with the waybill file.SEA
The Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) is the office within the Board responsible for directing the environmental review process, conducting independent analysis of all environmental data, and making environmental recommendations to the Board. Typically, as part of the environmental review process for actions that come before the Board, SEA will conduct an environmental analysis, or determine that an action is subject to a categorical exclusion. At the conclusion of the environmental review process, the Board considers the entire environmental record, including all public comments submitted during the environmental review process, before making a final decision.
The Board's environmental rules can be found at 49 CFR 1105. The environmental rules implement various environmental statutes that include the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act. The environmental rules are designed to assure adequate consideration of environmental factors in the Board's decision making process. The Board has adopted the former ICC environmental regulations that govern the environmental review process and outline procedures for preparing environmental documents.
Under NEPA, the Board must take into account in its decision making the environmental impacts of its actions, including direct, indirect and cumulative impacts. The Board must consider these impacts before making its final decision in a case. SEA assists the Board in meeting this responsibility by: conducting an independent environmental review of cases filed with the Board; preparing any necessary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or Environmental Assessment (EA); conducting public outreach to inform the public and communities about proposals before the Board and notifying them of the opportunity to raise environmental concerns; and providing technical advice and recommendations to the Board on environmental matters.Administration
The administrative side of OEEAA provides a wide range of support to STB staff including:
Building and space management, procurement of equipment and supplies, provision of copier services, and maintenance of the STB's Occupant Emergency Program.
Financial management services, including preparing and overseeing the STB's annual budget, developing and monitoring spending plans, managing the STB's payroll program, and tracking the collection of user fees.
Human resources activities, including assisting offices in hiring new employees, staff promotions, processing retirement requests, scheduling staff training, handling grievances, and other administrative matters.
Systems-services activities involving oversight and maintenance of our computer support program, and the purchase and maintenance of computer hardware and software.
Providing guidance and advice to STB Members and staff on issues regarding ethics and codes of conduct.