Union Pacific and the nation's other major freight railroads are defending their business and pricing practices at a Washington, D.C., hearing.

The Surface Transportation Board began a two-day hearing on railroad competition Wednesday to consider whether new regulations are needed.

UP CEO Jim Young planned to tell the board that if new regulations are imposed on railroads, the industry will reduce its spending on track and equipment that helps fuel the economy. And jobs will be cut.

Mining, utility, industrial and agricultural companies have complained that freight railroads charge excessive shipping rates when customers have no other shipping option.

Oxbow Mining even filed a federal lawsuit this month against UP and Burlington Northern Santa Fe accusing the railroads of conspiring to raise prices. Both railroads have denied any wrongdoing.