Residents want more of a say in what happens to South Philly refinery

Justin Udo
August 06, 2019 - 9:13 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The memory and damage from the South Philadelphia refinery explosion in June is still fresh in the minds of residents who live close to the facility, which is scheduled to officially close on Aug. 25.

Some unhappy residents voiced their concerns before the PES Refinery Advisory Group's first public meeting, worried with the past and current state of what officials are doing.

Mark Clincy lived by the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery for years. During that time, he said the refinery has had devastating effects on his neighbors.

"There are people that I know have asthma. I've known some that died of cancer because of the refinery, and it's just a sad thing," he said. 

Clincy was one of a few dozen people who rallied Tuesday before the first advisory meeting at Preparatory Charter School.

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"We want to keep it closed, but we want to have it cleaned as well. We want the land and the water cleaned of all the pollution that's been there over the years," Clincy added. 

Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said the four meetings they're holding will give the group insight on what the public wants and needs when it comes to the future of the refinery site.

"What are their concerns about that site? What are their concerns about the prior operation of the refinery, and what's the impact of a shutdown?" Abernathy asked.

 

The panel is made up of different community members and experts who will relay the public's information to city officials.

"There are multiple opinions in the room. There are a lot of different voices, and we're trying to sort through it," he added. 

But Clincy believes the panel lacks diversity and the neighborhood's voice.

"That's something I personally find unacceptable because we live in that area, so we should have more of a say and more representation," he said.

While it may be lacking, Clincy hopes officials do what's right by the residents.