UPTON, Mass. – Concerned Citizens for Upton, invigorated by a decision of the Surface Transportation Board that their objections to a wood pellet facility and chemical storage on Grafton & Upton Railroad property deserves a hearing, is looking for help to pay legal fees.
It's also asking residents to contact Congressman James McGovern so he knows the extent of its concerns.
The board issued a “declaratory order” two weeks ago to hear the case brought by seven Upton residents who believe the bagging, storing, and trans-loading being conducted by the railroad at its 25 Maple Ave. location is not transportation by a rail carrier as defined by the Interstate Commerce Act.
If they succeed, Upton would be able to regulate the operation under local zoning bylaws.
The railroad, owned by Jon Delli Priscoli, said the business falls under the federal railroad pre-emption.
In an email to residents who asked to be kept informed, the group said the railroad had until Jan. 31 to produce public versions of the trans-loading agreement and until Feb. 25 to file a reply to contradict any of the information presented by the Upton residents.
Residents have until March 11 to respond,’ the email notes.
“Concerned Citizens now need to prepare for the March 11 deadline, which means we need a second round of donations. Anything will be helpful, any amount of all,’’ the email says.
Supporters are asked to spread the word and ask friends and neighbors to donate as well.
Donations should be sent to Mark Bobrowski, 9 Damon Mill Square #4A4, Concord, MA 01741, who is doing much of the work pro-bono, the email notes, but must be accompanied by a form authorizing Bobrowski to accept the donation.
Information on how to make donations also is on the group's blog.site
The railroad also is facing opposition from Grafton town officials, who have asked a U.S. Federal Court judge to determine whether Delli Priscoli's plans to construct a propane transfer terminal there falls under federal pre-emption rights.
Final arguments in that case are scheduled for Feb. 11.