Four things you can do to keep ethanol trains out of our cities

I applaud state Rep. Tim Toomey for voicing his concerns so articulately regarding ethanol trains. I would like to take this opportunity to share ways for concerned residents to engage with the campaign to stop the “bomb trains.”

Residents from Chelsea, East Boston and Revere organized through the Chelsea Creek Action Group have been meeting, strategizing and taking action over the past two years to prevent the approval of local (Revere) and state (Department of Environmental Protection) permits and licenses that would allow Global Petroleum to proceed with its egregious plan to bring ethanol by rail through almost 100 communities in Massachusetts. Throughout every step, we have attempted to inform the communities that would be affected by this proposal, as Global did absolutely nothing to inform these cities/towns and first responders that such a dangerous plan was being put forth. Why would they? The plan benefits only Global and its bottom line.

Cities and towns such as Chelsea, Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Somerville and Shirley have voiced opposition to the ethanol trains by passing resolutions. Many other communities, such as Tewksbury, Andover and Melrose, have voiced strong concerns about the numerous negative impacts these trains could have on the Commonwealth.

CCAG is grateful to the leadership of state Sens. Sal DiDomenico and Anthony Petruccelli as well as Speaker Robert DeLeo and state Reps. KathiAnne Reinstein, Eugene O’Flaherty and Carlo Basile for sponsoring and passing legislation that required the state Department of Transportation to conduct a public safety study on the transportation of ethanol through Cambridge, Boston, Everett, Chelsea, Revere and Somerville. The department completed its study Monday, and it outlines numerous mitigation measures but does not highlight any explosion, derailment or spill prevention recommendations. The study does put forth as a finding the suggestion of the Cambridge Fire Department to conduct consequence modeling to show the worst-case scenarios and required response efforts. The department’s study can be found here. The study was required before the state Department of Environmental Protection decides whether to issue a Chapter 91 license to Global Petroleum.

As concerned residents, we encourage you to:

  • Join CCAG’s efforts. Contact Roseann Bongiovanni (RoseannB@chelseacollab.org) or Kim Foltz (Kim@noahcdc.org) to see how you can get involved.
  • Thank the legislative champions named above who continue to lead the legislative charge to stop the bomb trains; and help to engage new legislative supporters.
  • Call your state and federal legislators and request their action to stop the trains.
  • Call the governor at (617) 725-4005 and tell him your community opposes Global’s ethanol trains.

Roseann Bongiovanni, associate executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative

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