EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 17, 2013

Company wants to haul fuel in region

Some officials fear accidents, terrorism possible

HAVERHILL — City leaders said they are concerned about a private company’s plan to haul large amounts of volatile and flammable fuel through Haverhill and other communities in the region.

They want to be included in a state study of impacts and safety risks from the company’s proposal to use trains to transport the  liquid fuel.

Global Companies LLC, which has a facility in Revere, plans to bring 60 to 120 train cars per day carrying ethanol to its facility along the Chelsea River. Ethanol is a colorless, alcohol-based liquid fuel that burns at extremely high temperatures. Each train-car can hold up to 30,000 gallons of ethanol, resulting in up to 562 million gallons of the substance traveling through the region annually, according to the proposal.

The company is proposing four possible train routes: The Haverhill line, Fitchburg line, Lowell line and Grand Junction. On the Haverhill line, the trains would pass through or within a half-mile of Haverhill, Methuen, Andover, Wilmington, Reading, Wakefield, Stoneham, Melrose, Malden, Everett and Chelsea.

The state Department of Transportation is studying the proposal as required by the Legislature, but the review so far has focused on the communities of Cambridge, Boston, Everett, Chelsea, Revere and Somerville.

City Council agreed last week to ask Haverhill’s legislative delegation and Mayor James Fiorentini to request the city be included in the study. The mayor said he made the request to the transportation agency Thursday afternoon.

“Our community is very close to the train tracks,” Councilor William Ryan said. “Some houses are right up near the rails.”

Ryan said he learned about the proposal from Global Companies when he was contacted by Chelsea’s city manager and the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee. That group has been contacting communities north of Boston to request their “action and support to stop this life-threatening plan,” according to a letter from the group to Ryan.

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