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Fuel firm drops plan to transport ethanol

A fuel company has scrapped a proposal to transport ethanol by train through densely populated communities north of Boston, amid concerns from activists that the highly flammable liquid could be ignited in a derailment or attract would-be terrorists.

Global Petroleum disclosed its move in a statement Tuesday, a day after the Legislature moved to outlaw the storage of large quantities of ethanol near populous areas.

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Under its proposal, the company would have transported ethanol — which is mixed with gasoline to comply with Clean Air Act standards — to its storage terminal in Revere over MBTA commuter rail lines.

The path potentially would have taken the fuel through Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere.

Activists celebrated Global’s decision.

“We were more than excited to learn the news. We feel like our community organizing efforts were hugely successful in helping Global reach this decision,” said Roseann Bongiovanni, associate executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative and a member of the Chelsea Creek Action Group, an association of activists that opposed the plan.

“We feel really relieved that we can now enjoy our homes and our communities without the fear of a massive incident or an explosion from an ethanol train,” she said.

Activists had warned of the devastating possible outcomes of transporting ethanol by rail through urban areas, pointing to the 2007 overturn of a gasoline tanker truck in Everett that shot flames down Main Street and a 2011 tanker truck crash on Route 1 in Saugus that sparked an eight-alarm blaze.

Edward Faneuil, Global Petroleum’s executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary, thanked state officials for considering the company’s request.

State Senators Anthony Petruccelli, Sal DiDomenico, and Patricia Jehlen introduced the Senate amendment to the budget to block the plan.

The plan to transport the ethanol was described in earlier Globe reports as having been proposed by Global Partners LP, a publicly traded company that shares some leaders and ownership with the privately owned Global Petroleum but is a separate legal entity.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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