Mass. law delays rail transport of ethanol through Boston

By Erin Voegele | August 14, 2012

A new law in Massachusetts will delay allowing ethanol to be transported via train through Boston and several other cities until a public safety study is conducted. The legislation, titled “An Act financing improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system,” or H. 4371, was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick on August 10.

The bill directs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to commission a study to determine the public safety impact of transporting ethanol by train through the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett and Revere.

According to the legislation, the report must include issues related to the proximity of residents, elderly housing complexes, schools, hospitals, health care facilities. It is also directed to include information regarding population and demographics characteristics as well as emergency response capabilities.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has 6 months to complete the report. Once complete, the analysis is to be provided to the state legislature’s House and Senate ways and means committees, the executive office Public Safety and Security, and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Finally, the legislation prevents the Department of Environmental Protection from issuing a license for the transportation of ethanol through Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett or Revere until the report has been received.