Cam­bridge, Mass.

This might have been a story about the little train that could. Rather, it’s about the big train that could not.

Global Part­ners LP GLP +1.33% oper­ates a bulk petro­leum storage ter­minal north of Boston in Revere, on Mass­a­chu­setts Bay. Global Part­ners has been bringing in its inven­tory by barge from the Port of Prov­i­dence, where it arrives by rail, mostly from the Mid­west. Two years ago, Global Part­ners thought it would be a good idea to also use rail for delivery to the Revere facility, employing existing rail­road facil­i­ties and allowing the com­pany to reduce costs and increase supply. A coali­tion of Boston-​​area activists and local politi­cians came out in force to oppose it.

Nowhere was the oppo­si­tion more intense than in Cam­bridge, a lib­eral bas­tion about seven miles south­west of Revere but on another planet from that working-​​class town. The Global Part­ners pro­posal put Cantab­ri­gians, as we’re known, in an exquisite bind of lib­eral con­cerns war­ring with not-​​in-​​my-​​backyard self-​​interest. Ethanol is an elixir for envi­ron­men­tal­ists, who in 2007 suc­ceeded in per­suading the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to man­date the grain-​​based fuel’s use as an addi­tive to carbon-​​heavy gaso­line. Yet ethanol is also flam­mable, and Cantab­ri­gians didn’t like the idea of tank cars full of it rolling nearby. The result was a per­fect Made in Cam­bridge kerfuffle.

Read the article at The Wall Street Journal →