Today, June 23, 2019, I read an Phidelphia NBC (WCAU NBC 10) online story: Air Testing Continues After Massive Philly Refinery Explosion, Fire, this article claims the “The air around the still-burning refinery firein South Philadelphia is being tested every two to three hours by hazmat teams, officials said. And so far, they say, they have not found any dangerous levels in the air.
The Corporate Media and Government are always greenwashing Refineries, while oil refinery carcinogens are burning in a refinery fire. In fact, there does not have to been an explosion, for the United States refineries to be hazardous. to the surrounding populations.
20 years ago, I wrote and essay, “Trade Secrets” Cancer and the Environment (What the Bill Moyers Program Trade Secrets Revealed. From the essay:
“An example of this fact is the population living “downwind” from the many oil refineries in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. People living near these refineries have very high rates of cancer. In EPA terms, this is called a “cancer cluster.” The EPA, in its corporate manner, determined that the high rates of cancer was caused by high rates of smoking in the area and not from the refineries’ carcinogenic pollutions! However, under the rules of Proposition 65 in California and after several years of litigation, the Gasoline Refining Industry had to post this warning in the February 24, 1999, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Text of Actual WARNING:
Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are found in gasoline, crude oil, and many other petroleum products and their vapors, or result from their use. Read and follow label directions and use care when handling or using all petroleum products.
Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are found in and around gasoline stations, refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities that produce, handle, transport, store, or sell crude oil and petroleum and chemical products.
Other facilities covered by this warning include, for example, oil and gas wells, oil and gas treating plants, petroleum and chemical storage tanks, pipeline systems, marine vessels and barges, tank trucks and tank cars loading and unloading facilities, and refueling facilities.
The foregoing warning is provided pursuant to Proposition 65. This law requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.” This list is compiled in accordance with a procedure established by the Proposition, and can be obtained from the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Proposition 65 requires that a clear and reasonable warning be given to persons exposed to the listed chemicals in certain situations.
(Signed by) Aera Energy LCC; Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. SFPP, LP., Operating Partnership; ARCO Atlantic Richfield Company, its affiliates and subsidiaries; Texaco Inc., its affiliates and subsidiaries; Chevron Corporation and its subsidiaries; Time Oil Co.; Equilon Enterprises, LLC (under the trademarks Shell and Texaco); Tosco Corporation, its divisions and subsidiaries (and under the trademarks 76, BP and Circle K); Exxon Mobil Corporation; Ultramar Diamond Shamrock; the Valvoline Company, a division of Ashland Inc.; and Jackpot Convenience Stores Inc.
For more information, please call: (1-800) 523-3157.”
Actually refineries are usually parts of petrochemical area found in Black, brown minority and poor communities. These areas characterized as ‘cancer clusters’ and ‘cancer alleys’! People living near refineries are victims of environmental racism.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions is not and exception. As this essay: Facing a warming planet, these organizers are offering their Philly neighborhoods hope and solutions , shows:
Philly Thrive was formed in 2015 to provide a voice to low-income neighborhoods and offer a particular analysis of environmental justice in Philadelphia. Toxic emissions and the illnesses they cause are measurably more concentrated in communities inhabited by low-income individuals and by people of color. For those living on the “fence lines” of dirty industry, transitioning to clean energy is not just about the long-term impacts, but about fighting back against an economic system that has justified poisoning certain communities in the name of making a profit for shareholders. To Thrive members, environmental justice means standing up to systemic environmental racism and making sure that those who are most affected by the problem are crafting the solution. Thrive’s campaign identifies Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) South Philadelphia refinery as a major source of air pollution and a violator of the federal Clean Air Act. The detrimental effects of PES massive smokestacks, which rise above the city skyscape, have had detrimental effects, according to a report written by Brian Ratcliffe and Eleanor Hyun.
The tragedy of the Philadelphia and of refineries in general, is another example that burning of fossil fuels must stop.