HARRISBURG – June 26, 2019 – Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia) spoke out against the news of Philadelphia Energy Solutions’(PES) plans to close the South Philadelphia oil refinery next month.
“The decision to close the refinery is extremely disappointing news that will hurt hundreds of hardworking Philadelphians and their families,” said Williams. “PES needs to take full responsibility for this decision and ensure that plans are in place to support the workers who are currently at risk of losing their jobs.”
The decision to close the refinery follows troubling accounts of the June 21, 2019 explosion at the refinery that resulted in a fire. Concerns have also been raised regarding the environmental impact of the refinery.
“While it is important to address the safety and environmental concerns connected to the refinery’s operations, closing the refinery altogether is a poor choice of action,” Williams said. “There must be a way to improve safety and environmental impacts while also supporting the skilled workers who helped to contain the June 2019 fire and continue to proudly be employed at the facility.”
A hearing regarding the safety, environmental, and refinery closure concerns is being scheduled for late July.
The senator is hopeful that the hearing will result in a plan that both supports refinery workers and addresses the concerns PES has cited as reasons to close the South Philadelphia facility.
“I am asking PES to come to the table with solutions on how to better the refinery, not give up and turn their backs on their employees.”