Don’t Reopen Dangerous Cancer-Causing Oil Refinery

Target: Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America

Goal: Do not re-open the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery that releases dangerous levels of carcinogenic chemicals.

The Trump Administration wants to re-open an oil refinery known for producing some of the highest levels of benzene pollution in the country, with an annual average benzene concentration consisting of over five times the EPA standard. Benzene, a carcinogenic chemical that evaporates from oil and gas, can cause vomiting, headaches, anemia, cancer, and in some cases, death.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) was the biggest crude oil refinery on the East Coast before exploding last year on June 21st. The explosion released over 5,000 pounds of deadly hydroflouric acid into the air. After this dangerous occurrence, the facility closed and filed for bankruptcy.

More than 5,100 people live within a mile of the oil refinery complex. The majority of residents near the facility are black and 70 percent are below the poverty line. Like many marginalized communities residing in close proximity to industry, they suffer disproportionately high rates of illness, particularly asthma and cancer.

The PES refinery is a repeat violator of the Clean Air and Water Act. A report done by the Environmental Integrity Project found that the refinery was releasing 444 percent greater levels of benzene concentration than the EPA standard. Under EPA regulation, facilities are required to investigate excess pollution and take immediate action to reduce the impacts, both of which PES routinely failed to do.

The property is up for sale in a closed door auction, and the Trump administration offered help to bidders who want to buy the property and maintain the site as a petroleum processing facility. Those in favor of restoring the facility argue that thousands of jobs and national security interests would be affected by the closure of the plant. However, this argument fails to address the severe risk the facility poses to human health. David Masur, Executive Director of Penn Environment, disputed, “Whether it’s an explosion or a constant threat of pollution from known carcinogens, the choice of putting a refinery there is just too dirty and dangerous.” Sign below to stop the Trump administration from re-opening PES and continuing to threaten human health.


Dear Mr. Trump,

Philadelphia Energy Solutions has a past of violating EPA regulations and the Clean Air and Water Act by releasing excessive and dangerous levels of benzene. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene exposure is linked to birth defects, liver malfunction, cancer, respiratory illness, and many more. It is due time that the health of humans and the environment take priority over economic gain and industry.

Maintaining this property as a crude oil refinery will only continue to threaten the health of residents that live in neighboring communities. In addition, it increases the chances of another dangerous explosion like the event last June. I demand that you prioritize human health and cease the re-opening of Philadelphia Energy Solutions.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DCErica

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