What local, state and federal agencies are responsible for monitoring the railroad’s activities?

There are a number of agencies that have responsibilities when it comes to a facility such as the G&U yard. Those are:

Surface Transportation Board: The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the Department of Transportation.

Federal Railroad Administration: The purpose of FRA is to: promulgate and enforce rail safety regulations; administer railroad assistance programs; conduct research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy; provide for the rehabilitation of Northeast Corridor rail passenger service; and consolidate government support of rail transportation activities. Click here for a copy of the presentation made by Mr. William Schoonover, Staff Director for the Hazardous Materials Division at the November 1, 2011 Board of Selectmen's meeting.

US Army Corps of Engineers: The Army Corps regulates areas of land in Town that are below an elevation of 269 feet and thus are needed as flood storage capacity. A small portion of the railroad site is below this elevation.

US Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA may have responsibility for some aspects of clean air and water.

State Department of Environmental Protection: The DEP has responsibility over the landfill capping and the adjacent Town-owned Glen Avenue Well Field.

Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, the State Fire Marshalls Division of Fire Safety and the Massachusetts State Hazardous Materials Response Teams: The Office of the Massachusetts Fire Marshal is a division of the Department of Fire Services, which is a state agency within the Executive Office of Public Safety and receives its assignments from the Director of the Office of the State Fire Marshal. All units work cooperatively to preserve life and property.

Code Compliance officers are responsible for ensuring uniform statewide compliance with the laws and regulations the State Fire Marshal is charged to enforce. The unit can be asked to look into any matter covered by MGL Chapter 148 or CMR 527. Code Compliance officers have statewide jurisdiction and are designated by the State Fire Marshal to support compliance efforts of local fire department officers and to enhance our fire prevention goals.

The Regional Hazardous Materials Response Program is an innovative response system designed to provide specialized response personnel and equipment to the 351 communities of the Commonwealth, to enable them to protect the public, the environment and property during incidents involving the release or potential release of hazardous materials. Six regional response teams are strategically located for a maximum of a 1-hour response anywhere in the Commonwealth. The regional teams also support local fire departments with technical information and specialized equipment.

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1. What is the Grafton Upton Railroad?
2. Who are the present owners of the Railroad?
3. What are their plans for the rail yard located on Maple Avenue?
4. I hear that the Dana Company will be involved in the rail road in Upton. Who are they and what is their role in this operation?
5. What has the Town done to investigate the rights of the railroad?
6. Why did the Board of Selectmen decide to form a railroad fact finding committee and what is the status of that committee?
7. What are some of the definitions in federal law that is relevant to the situation in Upton?
8. What are some of the important factors to consider regarding preemption?
9. What activities are subject to local regulation and are not preempted?
10. Which agency has the authority to make a determination as to whether or not a local regulation is pre-empted?
11. What is involved in asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to rule on whether or not the G&U is subject to local regulation in Upton?
12. If the Town were to ask for a declaratory ruling, can the Town stop the activities of the railroad until a ruling could be given by the STB?
13. Why can’t the Planning Board retain counsel in order to file for an STB ruling?
14. What local, state and federal agencies are responsible for monitoring the railroad’s activities?
15. What is happening with the site known as the former Upton landfill & Upton Fuel and Construction?
16. What types of products does the railroad plan to bring into Upton by rail and transload onto trucks?
17. Doesn’t the Town have any say in whether or not hazardous chemicals are brought into our Town?
18. How do we know what hazardous materials are in rail cars coming into Upton?
19. Does the railroad have to provide the Town with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the hazardous materials that are brought into Upton?
20. How long can materials that are brought into Upton by rail remain on site before they must be removed?
21. What safety precautions has the railroad installed on the site to make sure that chemical spills do not occur, or if so they are contained?
22. Should I be concerned that the railroad’s site is very close to one of the Town’s Glen Avenue well field?
23. What types of inspections have various agencies made of the G&U site?
24. I’m concerned that I haven’t been notified of blasting taking place at the railroad site given how close it is to people’s homes. What is happening and what should people do if they think their home h
25. What types of local regulations is the railroad preempted from?
26. When the railroad is fully operational, how many trains a day will be coming through Upton?
27. What type of noise can I expect will be generated from the site, and will it be confined to regular business hours or other times of day?
28. Will the railroad contribute to increased truck traffic on our roads?
29. Given the rail cart accident this summer where a car was hit on Hartford Avenue South, what is being done to ensure crossings are safe for drivers?
30. Do the Town and the railroad have an emergency response plan in case of an accident at the site?
31. What resources do the Town and the region have at its disposal to manage a chemical accident at the site?
32. If a resident notices a chemical odor at the site, to whom should they report it?
33. What are the economic benefits to having the railroad operation in Upton?
34. Is the railroad paying property taxes on their site?
35. More Questions?