Lawmakers block ethanol trains
Global Petroleum gives up after years of effort
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BAR major ethanol storage or blending facilities from nearby densely populated areas helped to torpedo a plan for a gas company to start taking in ethanol deliveries by rail at its facility in Revere.
The legislative language was included in the $34 billion state budget approved by the Legislature Monday and now awaiting Gov. Deval Patrick’s consideration. The proposal was sponsored by Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat, along with fellow Democratic Sens. Sal DiDomenico of Everett, Patricia Jehlen of Somerville, and William Brownsberger of Belmont.
Global Petroleum Corp. official Edward Faneuil said there was not one lone reason the company had elected to withdraw from its plan to bring in ethanol deliveries by train. Train deliveries are more cost-effective and statistically safer than truck deliveries, but the large volume via rail meant the dangers from an accident are much greater. CommonWealth reported on the long-running controversy nearly two years ago.
“We’ve heard the input of the community and others,” Faneuil told the News Service. He said, “I think that we elected to withdraw for a variety of reasons.”
Faneuil said he would like to thank local officials from the area “for their consideration of the application” and said, “I think everyone engaged in a healthy process.”
The energy company, which currently receives ethanol deliveries at its Revere location, applied to receive those deliveries by rail in the fall of 2011, Faneuil said. He said company executives thought it was “a more efficient way to move ethanol to the facility.”
Local officials had balked at what they said was the dangerous and explosive potential of freighting ethanol by train through their neighborhoods.“Ethanol is a highly volatile fluid; when it catches fire, water is useless, and first responders must use a toxic chemical foam to extinguish the blaze,” wrote Rep. Tim Toomey, an East Cambridge Democrat, on his website. Toomey said the company currently receives ethanol shipments by barge.
The budget language would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection from permitting an ethanol storage or blending facility that handles more than an average of 5,000 gallons of ethanol per day if it is within one mile of an area with a population density of more than 4,000 people per square mile.