On Tuesday I attended the ethanol train safety briefing at the King Open School. I hoped that the presentation would allay my initial concerns surrounding the ethanol trains. I left the meeting believing we need to fight even harder than we have against this proposal.

Of the routes studied by the Department of Transportation, two travel through Cambridge. Route 1 travels directly through Porter Square. Route 2, through East Cambridge, brings the train incredibly close to MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. Surprisingly, the reactor situation was not addressed in the March 29 Safety Impact Report. Neither of these options is acceptable.

I would like to commend state Sens. Anthony Petruccelli, Sal DiDomenico and Pat Jehlen on their efforts prevent Global Partners from receiving the Chapter 91 license necessary to upgrade its facility to accommodate these trains. Preventing the proposed upgrades could prevent the transportation of ethanol through our city.

Global will almost certainly mount a legal challenge, though, and given the history of federal preemption surrounding the rail system I am not sure the action to block the Chapter 91 license will stand. While this tactic is effective, I am afraid that it will ultimately be nothing more than a Band-Aid.

We need a longer-term solution to this issue. So I am inviting you to join me in sending a letter to the offices of U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mo Cowan and the offices of U.S. Reps. Ed Markey, Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch encouraging them to explore any and all legislative options that will prevent the transportation of massive quantities of dangerous materials through densely populated areas nationwide, but especially here in Cambridge.

On my website, you can see the letter I sent to our elected representatives. You can also print a copy to send to your elected representatives.

Kristen von Hoffmann, candidate for Cambridge City Council