WILMINGTON, MA — On November 2nd, the Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) of the Surface Transportation Board released its Final Scope of Study for the proposed New England Transrail (NET) project in the towns of Woburn and Wilmington. This is the first development in the project since the public scoping period ended on November 29th 2016. This scoping period began with a very well attended meeting on October 25, 2016, at the Wilmington High School and continued for the next five weeks, during which the the OEA collected many hundreds of testimonies from concerned residents, environmental coalitions and elected officials. Over the past year these testimonies and other research has been used by the the OEA to establish its Final Scope of Study.
While the study itself is not yet finished, what topics the OEA will be considering and analyzing to determine whether the New England Transrail project should move forward or not have been established. These topics include an analysis of: applicable federal, state and local laws, the impacts on road and rail congestion, the cost/benefit of this project versus its potential harms. In addition to these analyses, the OEA will be investigating the effects of this project on fifteen different categories of potentially impacted areas. These impacted areas include: transportation systems, safety, land use, recreation, biological resources, water resources, including wetlands and other waters of the U.S., geology and soils, air quality and climate, noise and vibration, energy resources, socioeconomics as they relate to physical changes in the environment, cultural and historic resources, aesthetics, and environmental justice.
When asked about what this recent development meant for residents of Wilmington and the surrounding area, Representative Miceli responded, “It is my firm belief that nothing could be found by this study that would allow it to occur safely.” He continued, “Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear from this scope of study that the Office of Environmental Analysis, and its overseeing agency the Surface Transportation Board are taking this proposed project seriously now, but this project is well overdue for being flat out buried. Wilmington has suffered the environmental impacts of the Olin Chemical site enough already, and we certainly don’t need an organization who clearly has no concern for our town and residents to be putting us in danger. I don’t know how a project could be a worse fit for the location… it’s just common sense to not construct a loading and unloading rail facility anywhere near a superfund site, let alone on top of one!”
Despite grave concern from town residents and elected officials for many years, New England Transrail, LLC has continued to attempt to move forward with their project at 51 Eames St., Wilmington by any means necessary. In brief, NET proposes to acquire 5,727 feet of existing track, to rehabilitate or construct a combined 10,838 feet of track, and to operate as a rail carrier over the total 16,565 feet of track on and adjacent to property currently owned by the Olin Corporation. In June of 2016, New England Transrail filed a petition for exemption from an environmental review from the Surface Transportation Board (which was later denied, leading to the aforementioned Final Scope of Study). In addition, at the time New England Transrail filed the petition, it is worth noting that not only had the Surface Transportation Board’s environmental review and analysis not been completed, but neither had the groundwater investigation and plans for response actions to properly handle groundwater at the Transrail’s location.
“I and the rest of the Wilmington delegation of elected officials will be continuing to fight this proposed project every step of the way, and continuing to urge the Surface Transportation Board to end this once and for all.” Representative Miceli added.
The entire published Final Scope of Study is available at newenglandtransraileis.com or can be acquired by contacting Representative Miceli’s office at 617-722-2305.
(NOTE: The above press release is from State Rep. Jim Miceli’s Office.)