The decision by Global Petroleum officials to withdraw their application to bring Ethanol trains to its Revere/East Boston terminal on tracks running through the communities of Chelsea and Everett certainly comes as good news especially to residents who live near the train tracks or the terminal itself.
Last week’s explosion in Canada of crude oil gives a small glimpse of the potential devastation that we were opening ourselves to had Ethanol trains started rolling down our tracks since crude oil is nowhere near as flammable as Ethanol.
Growing up in our community, we never had much concern about the oil and gas tanks that are along our shorelines or the factories that were in our neighborhoods. This blissful ignorance came home to roost as many of these sites that we pass on a daily basis are now brownfields that will take years and millions of dollars to clean-up.
However, the Ethanol proposal raised the stakes beyond what we were willing to accept.
For Revere resident Ed O’Hara, the Ethanol plan by Global officials set in motion a two- year crusade to stop this proposal.
O’Hara was tireless in first alerting residents in Revere along the train tracks where Ed’s daughter and grandchildren also live. He was up at the City Council urging Councillors to pass resolutions against the plan. He worked on having the Ethanol proposal put on as a ballot question, with Revere voters overwhelmingly rejecting Global’s plan.
Almost on a weekly basis, Ed would come into the newspaper offices with another letter and more facts about train crashes and the potential disaster that could be in store for residents in these communities.
Ed then started to find more organizations in the impacted communities like The Chelsea Human Service Collaborative and NOAH in East Boston to help in the fight.
Eventually, both State Senators, Anthony Petruccelli and Sal DiDomenico added language in a Senate bill that would have made it very difficult, if not impossible, for Global to gain the necessary state approvals for their Ethanol train plan.
And on last Monday, Global officials scrapped their plan rather than litigate it after viewing the entrenched opposition by residents of these communities. In the end Global might have prevailed in the court but they took the high road and just shelved their plan.
The final outcome of the Ethanol train saga proves the Chinese proverb, “Victory has many fathers.”