Global Withdraws Application for Ethanol Trains

Nothing’s ever a done deal.

More than two years ago, Revere’s Ed O’Hara listened intently to the television broadcast of an early summer Revere City Council meeting, and after hearing the words “done deal,” he became a sold out opponent of Global Petroleum’s plan to bring Ethanol trains to its Revere terminal – passing through Everett, Chelsea and East Boston as well.

Often, he was a man alone in the fight, but he never doubted for a minute that he would win.

This week, after two years of turmoil, that plan came to a screeching halt as Global informed state leaders and local advocates that it was abandoning its proposal to bring in approximately 180 million gallons per year of Ethanol to Revere via trains on the commuter rail.

Global officials confirmed the news late on Monday afternoon.

“I am confirming we will be withdrawing our application to the DEP for the permit,” Global attorney and spokesman Ed Faneuil told the newspaper. “By withdrawing the application [to the DEP] we are withdrawing the application to receive Ethanol by rail at the facility [in Revere]…We are thankful to the communities of the Commonwealth for their input during the permit process and the folks on the Hill for considering our application and the officials at the various state agencies for reviewing our permit. We want to look forward to serving the energy needs of the Commonwealth in an ongoing basis.”

Never a ‘Done Deal’

O’Hara said the past two years of fighting Global’s plan should be a reminder of what the people can do when they persist and push those who tell them to give up.

“Nothing is a done deal,” he said immediately upon learning the news. “No. Nothing; if the people rise up. This one goes against the president of the United States’ policies – the biofuels he favors. That’s why people said over and over that nothing could be done. That’s why it was a done deal. Never accept anything as a done deal; that’s the lesson here. I’m not saying you should go crazy nuts about everything, but something like this – yes. It’s the people that have the power and no one else. That’s something we can never forget.”

Leading the charge in Chelsea was Roseann Bongiovanni of the Chelsea Collaborative – who teamed up with O’Hara and other on the effort and held countless meetings on the issue over the past two years.

“I knew we were going to win the battle, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” she said. “We called Global right off because we wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth and they literally said to us, ‘We surrender.’”

Defeating a Giant

The news is being hailed as one of the largest grass-roots victories in decades, and folks like O’Hara in Revere, Bongiovanni in Chelsea, Gail Miller in East Boston and Boston Environmental Attorney Stacey Rubin are at the nucleus of the victory.

“It’s not every day you get to take on a Fortune 500 company and win,” said State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston). “This was a big ‘Wow.’ It’s an unbelievable turn of events. To their credit, Ed Faneuil and Global Petroleum recognized the concerns at the end of this thing and in a class act move, withdrew their request…It was a great effort by a lot of people from different cross-sections of different communities – and I definitely want to give a nod to Ed O’Hara for his efforts.”

Added Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), “It’s a big win for our community. People really didn’t give us a shot at it and we came through. It was David vs. Goliath and we were David. It shows that anything is possible when a group of people come together as one. This is a victory over a Fortune 500 company that wanted to bring Ethanol trains into our backyards – literally in some cases – and everyone told us we couldn’t stop it and we did.”

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