Senator Anthony Petruccelli, with help from Chelsea Senator Sal DiDomenico and Senator Patricia Jehlen, added language last week during a late night session to amend the state’s Chapter 91 law. The amendment’s language would block Global Oil’s proposal to bring 1.8 million gallons of ethanol by train twice a week through parts of Chelsea and store the fuel at their facility on the East Boston/Revere border.
Because the facility is along the Chelsea Creek, Global needs a Chapter 91 license to modify the facility in order to store ethanol along the banks of the Creek.
The amendment was passed and is now in Conference Committee where it will be debated.
The language inserted into the Chapter 91 law states that “an ethanol storage or blending facility that stores or blends or is intended to store or blend more than an average of 5,000 gallons of ethanol per day and is located within one mile of a census block that has a population density of greater than 4,000 people per square mile shall not be granted a license under this chapter. For the purposes of this section, ethanol shall be defined as any mixture composed of not less than 30 percent ethanol”.
Petruccelli called the passage of the amendment a ‘huge win’ for environmental activists in Chelsea, Revere and Eastie that have worked to block ethanol trains from coming to the area.
“Senators DiDomenico, Jehlen and I drafted the ethanol amendment with the belief that public safety is among our top priorities,” said Petruccelli. “I worked tirelessly on this amendment in order to protect the residents of the First Suffolk and Middlesex from the dangers of such a volatile substance. I am enthusiastic at the adoption of our amendment and the prospect of working with the Senate and House leadership and the bill’s conference committee to ensure its final passage.”
Residents in Chelsea, Eastie, and Revere have long expressed concerns over Global’s proposal to bring 60-car trains carrying 1.8 million gallons of ethanol, a highly flammable material, two times or more per week along commuter rail tracks to its terminal on the East Boston/Revere line.
Global’s plans were slowed last year at the state level by legislation co-sponsored by Petruccelli and DiDomenico. Petruccelli and DiDomenico, became the first elected officials to file any significant legislation to slow Global’s plan to begin shipping ethanol on from upstate New York via train through densely populated areas in Chelsea Everett and Revere. Petruccelli and DiDomenico added an amendment to a state transportation bond bill that prohibited the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from issuing Global a Chapter 91 license to build the ethanol storage facility on the Eastie/Revere line until a comprehensive safety study is completed.
MassDOT’s Ned Cod briefed residents on the study, which was completed in the winter.
However, there were many unanswered questions in the study—questions residents at several community meetings felt should be answered.
With the study completed, activists seemed to have run out of options to block Global’s Chapter 91 license from being granted-until last week’s amendment was passed.