While pleased with last week’s announcement that Global Petroleum had withdrawn its proposal to bring millions of gallons of Ethanol by train through more than 90 communities across the Commonwealth, local Chelsea Creek activists remain dedicated to seeing through the amendment they have fought for and that would ensure that future projects like Global’s would remain off limits.
“Saturday night’s tragic catastrophe in Lac Mégantic, Quebec provides a horrifying glimpse of what is possible when millions of gallons of highly flammable products are railed through the middle of densely populated areas,” said Roseann Bongiovanni, Associate Director of the Chelsea Collaborative.
The derailment and explosion of several of the train’s 73 tanker cars containing pressurized crude oil destroyed 30 buildings in downtown Lac Mégantic and is being referred to as the worst rail accident in Canada in 50 years. An exact death toll has yet to be released as bodies of over 40 missing persons have not been found and may have been completely incinerated.
“Can you imagine if the proposed Ethanol cars derailed as they went through Porter Square or through Chelsea neighborhoods?” asked Kim Foltz, Director of Community Building and Environment at NOAH. “Thanks to Senators Anthony Petruccelli, Sal DiDomenico and Patricia Jehlen there is an amendment in the State budget that would prevent something similar to this happening on the rail lines to the Chelsea Creek oil terminals.”
After more than two years of organizing, members of the Chelsea Creek Action Group on Monday morning delivered more than 1,000 postcards signed by residents in the Metro Boston area to Gov. Deval Patrick urging him to sign the legislation into law to ensure the safety of residents of the Commonwealth from ethanol rail disasters.
Whether or not the new Chapter 91 regulations go into effect is fully up to Gov. Patrick at this point. The amendments are contained within the current Budget Proposal that the governor is deliberating upon. Many insiders believe that he is poised to strike the amendments, but he has given no clear indication.