Gov. Deval Patrick, who returned to the Legislature a proposal limiting ethanol fuel facilities in densely populated areas, said Global Petroleum’s decision to drop its plans for new freight train deliveries has afforded state officials time to study the issue.
The Legislature’s budget included language that would have prevented facilities that store or blend more than 5,000 gallons of ethanol per day, which are located within a mile of fairly densely populated areas, from receiving a waterfront license.
Lawmakers had concerns about Global Petroleum’s plans to add trains to its facility up the Chelsea Creek, in Revere, which currently receives ethanol by barge. The company dropped the plans after the legislation was included in the final version of the budget, which was sent to Patrick.
“The project that was of concern is not happening, so the sense of urgency is a little different. What we did is ban it for two years because I think there’s a lot of homework that needs to be done to understand exactly what the implications are, both for residents in communities through which ethanol is transported by train, and the impact on commerce. And I think that requires some data. This buys us some time to do that,” Patrick told reporters in the North End Thursday.
Patrick’s amendment wipes out the Legislature’s proposal and would instead require the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to develop an ethanol transport response plan for all the municipalities where ethanol trains run. His amendment would also prevent ethanol facilities in the Revere, East Boston and Chelsea Creek areas from receiving licenses for train deliveries until July 1, 2015.
The House, which spent Wednesday overriding Patrick’s vetoes of spending items in the budget, has not yet addressed his ethanol amendment. -