Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Philly stuck between polluting refinery and jobs it creates

Philadelphia Energy Solutions is the largest refiner on the East Coast, taking Bakken Shale oil from North Dakota and turning it into gasoline. The company is the largest stationary emitter of particulate matter in the city.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions is the largest refiner on the East Coast, taking Bakken Shale oil from
North Dakota and turning it into gasoline. The company is the largest stationary emitter of particulate
matter in the city. (Peter DeCarlo photo)

Catalina Jaramillo reports for StateImpact:


Zalaka Thompson lives less than a mile from the largest oil refinery on the East Coast, which turns crude oil from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota into gasoline. The Schuylkill Expressway, a major interstate highway, separates her home from Philadelphia Energy Solutions, and she says the facility impacts her family daily.
Her 14-year old son has asthma and carries an inhaler with him at all times. Some mornings, she can’t keep her windows open for long without smelling something akin to sulfur or gas.
“I like to open my windows for fresh air, but sometimes I have to close them,” she says.
The refinery is Philadelphia’s single largest stationary source of particulate pollution, according to city data. Particulate matter includes a mix of tiny particles that can damage lungs and cause respiratory diseases. In the 19145 zip code, which Thompson and her son call home, asthma is common among children, and the rates of hospitalization for the ailment are among the highest in the city.
Earlier this month, after years of financial strain caused by a drop in global oil prices, PES filed for bankruptcy. It blames its most recent financial problems on federal biofuel requirements, which mandate ethanol comprise a percentage of refined gasoline. PES CEO Greg Gatta describes the bankruptcy filing as a restructuring of debt that “positions PES well for the future with a sustainable capital structure and additional liquidity.”
But even as PES moves toward financial sustainability, neighbors like Thompson say the refinery isn’t doing enough to reduce its environmental impact locally. She hopes the bankruptcy will inspire the company to rethink how it does business across the board.
Like this? Use form in upper right to receive free updates
See popular posts from the last 30 days in right column --- >>

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article