Success: Cancer-Causing Oil Refinery to Be Closed Permanently

Target: Philly Thrive, Philadelphia-based grassroots environmental justice group

Goal: Praise Philly Thrive for winning their “Right to Breathe Campaign” that resulted in the closure of the largest oil refinery on the East Coast.

The largest oil refinery on the East Coast will be shut down permanently thanks to four years of earnest campaigning by environmental group Philly Thrive. The refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), was responsible for emitting levels of benzene far exceeding the EPA standard, as well as having a history of repeated violations and dangerous accidents, including an explosion. The numerous negative effects of PES on human health, the environment, and on communities of color is detailed in this petition.

After a dangerous explosion at the refinery last June, the facility shut down and has since been for sale at a closed door auction. Hilco Redevelopment Partners, a Chicago-based real estate company who turns old refineries into logistics centers, offered the highest bid and waited approval from the bankruptcy court. However, another bidder, Industrial Realty Group, put up a fight. The company teamed up with Paul Rinaldi, former chief executive at PES and the Trump Administration to get the results of the auction voided with the intention of maintaining the property as a refinery.

Philly Thrive has made significant effort to rally against the refinery over the last four years. In addition to organizing a demonstration outside of the auction, the group held several protests outside of the refinery, hosted phone banks, wrote testimonies and occupied government-owned buildings. Despite lobbying efforts from oil executives and the White House, Hilco Redevelopment Partners was awarded the sale of the land on Thursday, February 13, resulting in the permanent closure of the refinery.

Sign below to praise Philly Thrive for their years of hard work campaigning for clean air and the health of Philadelphia residents.


Dear Philly Thrive,

Thanks to your diligence and hard work, residents of Philadelphia will no longer be exposed to toxic levels of benzene and now have the opportunity to breathe clean air. This is a powerful victory for the many undermined communities whose health has been put at risk, such as communities of color who are disproportionately exposed to high levels of toxins.

This victory proves that grassroots campaigning has the power to make real, influential change. Your work is invaluable and it is an honor to thank you for prioritizing equality, human health and a safe environment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DCErica


  1. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    Awesome! Great work.

  2. Joe Smith says:

    $1000000 people have been affected by the Refinery closing permanently. And the taxes in the city will go Sky High since the refinery was putting a heavy up percentage of them. These people don’t know how stupid they are.

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