Thursday, September 20, 2018

Report By Kleinman Center For Energy Policy Raises Concerns Over Philadelphia Refinery Site

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Thursday released a report raising concerns about contamination at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery site and highlights the utter lack of public participation in the remediation planning process.
According to the report-- Beyond Bankruptcy: The Outlook for Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Refinery-- Sunoco did not follow the required public participation process for remediation planning under DEP’s Land Recycling Program.  As a result, local residents, city agencies, elected officials, and other stakeholders were not able to provide input.
The Department of Environmental Protection has already approved Sunoco’s analysis of contamination for eight of the eleven refinery sites deemed an “area of concern,” meaning Sunoco may comply with site-specific standards under the Land Recycling Program.
Two of the three remaining areas of concern for which site characterization reports have yet to be approved involve pollution that has migrated off site, and one area of concern involves the New Jersey drinking water aquifer.
Separate from DEP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to open a public comment period on the proposed site cleanup plan, which is estimated to be available by 2020.
The report said, “The omission of public involvement in the remediation planning for the refinery is a meaningful grievance. Given the magnitude, severity, and toxicity of the site’s contamination, coupled with its proximity to highly populated environmental justice neighborhoods, population centers, and drinking water resources, public involvement is critical to informing the municipality and community about existing risks, appropriateness of site-specific standards, and remediation options. In turn, this input could inform, improve, and garner public support for the project approach and goals.”
Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, issued the following statement--
“Sunoco has unlawfully denied local residents, city agencies, elected officials, and other stakeholders the opportunity to meaningfully provide input during the remediation planning process for the PES refinery site.
“The lack of public participation in planning for remediation at the site is completely unacceptable, especially given the extensive environmental contamination at the site and the proximity of the refinery to environmental justice neighborhoods.
“As PES is likely to go bankrupt again in the near future, it is critical that the city engage the public in thoroughly assessing the best possible future use of the refinery site that aligns with Philadelphia’s sustainability goals.”
Click Here for a copy of the report.
[NOTE: This post will be updated as more information becomes available.]
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