SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Sen. John Thune says a bill being considered in Congress could give shippers more leverage against railroads.

The Senate legislation would create a new customer advocate at the Surface Transportation Board, who would work with shippers who have questions or complaints.

Thune says shippers need an advocate to make sure they're treated fairly. Many South Dakota farmers produce grain and ethanol that are shipped by rail.

South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says there is currently no accountability, and that raises transportation costs.

The bill to reauthorize and reorganize the STB has been approved in committee.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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