PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Residents in Point Breeze protested a meeting discussing Sunoco’s Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery clean up program Thursday evening, saying they’ve been left out of the process.
Dozens of protestors shouting “We have a right to breath” blocked the doors of a meeting held by the city and Sunoco as remediation plans go forward for the refinery.
Protestors are demanding a seat at the table.
“We believe that everyone has a God given right to breathe clean air. We are angry at Sunoco and the City of Philadelphia because we were not included in the process,” said Mark Clincey of Philly Thrive.
This comes after a federal preliminary report revealing thousands of pounds of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid was released into the air after the refinery explosion in June.”There is gross contamination. They really have not sought the input of the community and some of the cleanup levels that I’ve seen are very high and would commit this community to having a very heavy industrial sight on this location forever,” said the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Merrilyn Howarth, who was at the meeting.
But Robin Tilly with Evergreen, which is representing the city, argued the community’s had many chances to be heard.
“Since the initial Act 2 notice was submitted in 2006, there have been 24 opportunities for public involvement in the process,” she said.
Residents say they’ve only been informed of plans after crucial decisions have been made. Tilly says the public can submit comments to Evergreen over the next 120 days during the “comment period” and at the next meeting in March 2020.
Residents say that’s not enough.