Potential rail strike could have severe implications for biofuel industry


Potential rail strike could have severe implications for biofuel industry

As you are aware, railroads and rail labor have until 12:01 a.m., on Sept. 16 to reach an agreement preventing a lockout or strike after the Presidential Emergency Board published a proposed settlement on Aug. 17.

Renew Kansas Biofuels Association is working with its national affiliate organizations as well as the Kansas Congressional Delegation to find solutions to the impending rail labor strike.

As this deadline approaches, there is no agreement yet in place. Class I railroads announced recently they would begin curtailing shipments of hazardous materials in anticipation of a possible strike. It is now being reported that some grain shipments could stop as early as Wednesday.

A letter, coordinated and sent by Growth Energy, urged leaders of railroads and rail labor unions to remain at the negotiating table and commit to reaching an agreement by Thursday to avoid a nationwide rail shutdown. Congress could be called upon to settle differences in the event of an impasse in negotiations, but the hope is to avoid this potential outcome.

As many agricultural facilities have already been experiencing rail service disruptions, the economic damages of a rail stoppage in the middle of the fall harvest would be severe. A strike would negatively impact exports of finish goods such as commodities and ethanol. Also, following the hard drought this year, and the short corn crop, there is fear a prolonged strike could create difficulty in receiving grain to fill contracts to Kansas feed yards and biofuel processing facilities.

Below are two steps you can take during this negotiation process:

Reach out to your rail and labor contacts and implore them to stay at the negotiating table and continue working toward an agreement.

Call your lawmakers below and explain to them the the hardship biofuel facilities have already been experiencing with rail service disruptions, as well as the potential damages of a stoppage in the middle of fall harvest. Ask your elected officials to intervene immediately if railroads and labor fail to reach an agreement.

Senator Jerry Moran


(202) 224-6521

Senator Roger Marshall


(202) 224-4774

Congresswoman Sharice Davids

Democrat | 3rd District

(202) 225-2865

Congressman Ron Estes

Republican | 4th District

(202) 225-6216

Congressman Jake LaTurner

Republican | 2nd District

(202) 225-6601

Congressman Tracey Mann

Republican | 1st District

(202) 225-2715