Durbin: Illinois Commerce Commission Will Post CN Agreements With Illinois Communities

Action comes in response to call from Durbin for increase in transparency following Canadian National violations

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that, in response to his request to bring more oversight and transparency to Canadian National (CN)’s acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway (EJ&E), the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has agreed to make public the voluntary mitigation agreements CN has with 26 of the 33 affected communities in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Currently, neither CN nor the Surface Board of Transportation has made any of these agreements public.


“I thank the ICC for sharing my belief that bringing Canadian National agreements to light is in the best interest of Illinois communities,” said Durbin. “Citizens deserve the right to inspect these agreements and hold Canadian National accountable for the promises they made. I look forward to reviewing the agreements once they are compiled and posted online.”


After learning last month that the Surface Transportation Board issued $250,000 fine against CN for knowingly underreporting how long and how often their trains blocked rail-road crossings along the EJ&E, Durbin sent a letter to the Acting Chairman of the ICC, Manuel Flores, asking him to compile the agreements CN has made with communities and make them available on the commission’s website. In his letter, Durbin explained that public access to information was instrumental in uncovering past CN violations which led to the unprecedented fine.


Durbin wrote: “Soon after CN submitted their first blocked crossing report in April of 2009, citizens and communities along the EJ&E line began to voice concerns about the reports’ accuracy and completeness. The STB responded to those concerns by ordering an independent audit to investigate CN’s reporting of blocked crossings caused by their trains. The public access to this information was instrumental in correcting a serious violation of the STB’s conditions of the CN-EJ&E merger.”