GRAFTON, Mass. — Final arguments are set for Monday in Grafton's attempt to prove a propane transfer terminal does not fall under the Grafton & Upton Railroad's federal pre-emption rights.
A verdict, however, may take weeks or even months, Town Counsel Ginny Kremer told selectmen Tuesday.
"We believe that, under the law, this is not being done by the railroad and they do not qualify for pre-emption," Kremer said.
The Grafton & Upton Railroad in December announced plans to build a propane transfer terminal on its North Grafton property. The town of Grafton obtained a cease and desist order on the construction of the terminal, which would include four 120-foot, 80,000 gallon propane tanks to store propane brought in by the nearby CSX rail line.
The town has argued the railroad itself would not be responsible for terminal operations, making the pre-emption invalid.
"Even if we succeed, there's a possibility this facility could be refashioned under another set of contracts," Kremer said.
Judge Timothy S. Hillman could also opt to remand the case to Worcester Superior Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board.
Railroad abutter Dennis Flynn expressed concern that this may be the first of many companies looking to move onto railroad property along the entire Grafton to Milford length of the rail line. A brochure Kremer produced during the trial last month showed the railroad was advertising industrial land with no permitting required.
"This is something that will affect other parts of town," Flynn said.