The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to make complaint to the Surface Transportation Board with respect to rates, charges, tariffs, and practices relating to the transportation of farm products, and to prosecute the same before the Board. Before hearing or disposing of any complaint (filed by any person other than the Secretary) with respect to rates, charges, tariffs, and practices relating to the transportation of farm products, the Board shall cause the Secretary to be notified, and, upon application by the Secretary, shall permit the Secretary to appear and be heard.
If such rate, charge, tariff, or practice complained of is one affecting the public interest, upon application by the Secretary, the Board shall make the Secretary a party to the proceeding. In such case the Secretary shall have the rights of a party before the Board and the rights of a party to invoke and pursue original and appellate judicial proceedings involving the Board’s determination. The liability of the Secretary in any such case shall extend only to liability for court costs.
For the purposes of this section, the Surface Transportation Board is authorized to avail itself of the cooperation, records, services, and facilities of the Department of Agriculture.