Nov 21, 2019 Testimony at Philadelphia City Council, about just introduced resolution number 190946
My name is Meenal Raval, a Mt Airy resident and volunteer with the Sierra Club. I’m here today to speak about Council’s just introduced resolution to support proposals to purchase the refinery site that align with our goals.
The fire this past June woke up all Philadelphians to the toxic giant at our riverfront. What happens here affects all Philadelphians, especially the near neighbors in South Philly who inhaled the emissions from this refinery and are paying for it with their health and their lives.
At this late state of planetary climate fever, this site must not become an oil refinery again. Yes, today we need their product to fill our gas tanks. With electrified and improved transit, and electric cars, we won’t be as reliant on the products of this refinery.
I repeat, we must not revive the refinery again. We must not accept any industry that dumps into the atmosphere, or produces anything combustible. Therefore, no waste to energy plant. Nothing that makes jet fuel. Or marine diesel. We ask, simply, for no new fossil fuel projects. Our commitment to 100% renewable energy means we go forward, towards that. Not backwards, into the 20th century.
What can the City do? Any tax incentives we may have had for this site, such as Keystone Opportunity Zones, must be removed. We may need to rezone this space, and take away this zoning, so that this site is less viable for use as a future refinery. We need to make it financially unattractive for anyone to restart this refinery.
Tomorrow, I plan to talk more about creating family sustaining jobs, remediation for a use other than a refinery, consideration of and rising sea levels.
Today, my question to you all is… Who decides what happens next? We’d like to participate.
Excellent, Meenal, especially rezoning the property! If that is a power the city has. What about
“eminent domain”? The City seizes the property for the safety of its citizens. They have the power
to take the property of people’s houses. Why not industrial properties? Jobs v. the decline and
death of the planet. Philadelphia could get even better press and visitor/tourists. Let’s calculate
that money by making the former refinery an alternative energy garden of the future. We have smart people who could do that. Let’s find the current Rouse, Bacon or Kahn with landscape
architects could challenge Holland and Norway for innovator. How that might help Philly’s profile THINK BIG. WE’VE GOT TALENT. PROMETHEUS UNBOUND.
Well, eminent domain might mean we (the City) take on the soil and water remediation. We need current and prior owners of the refinery site to do this. We ARE planning an inter-disciplinary design competition with professors from area universities.