Green Justice Philly Coalition Launch

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Our press release

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: October 14, 2015

Coalition of Community Organizations and Environmental Groups Launch 

GREEN JUSTICE PHILLY

to Build a Clean and Healthy Philadelphia and Fight Dirty Energy Expansion

Groups Refuse to Allow Philadelphia to Become a Sacrifice Zone

PHILADELPHIA — On Wednesday, October 14th, local economic justice and environmental organizations rallied at the Municipal Services Building and City Hall to announce the formation of Green Justice Philly, a new coalition to protect Philadelphians’ health and safety from the city’s fossil fuel industry, and to create a sustainable 21st century economy that will support clean air and water and healthy communities.

The Green Justice Philly coalition announced two main goals: first, that the city not grant new permits to fossil fuel companies that are currently in violation of the law, and second, that the new Mayor’s office put forth a stronger Greenworks plan that looks at decreasing carbon emissions and increasing green jobs, particularly for those who have been left out of the economy.

The past decade has seen Philadelphia grow the local economy and take steps to protect the environment. Mayor Nutter’s administration created an Office of Sustainability, and moved forward the Greenworks plan to “make this city the greenest in America.” Last year the city added 8,800 jobs, the single largest increase since 1999. These improvements are under threat by the potential expansion of the city’s petrochemical industry.

The plan to build out oil and gas infrastructure in the Philadelphia area is being led by Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) and their CEO, Phil Rinaldi. PES has consistently been in violation of environmental laws and regulations; PES emits 72% of the city’s toxic air emissions, producing an estimated 700,000 pounds of emissions annually. Meanwhile, 22% of Philadelphia children suffer from asthma, nearly triple the national average. The refinery corporation has also created public safety hazards for the city: PES is the largest single customer of North Dakota’s Bakken crude oil in the country, bringing dangerous oil trains through the city daily.

“My family and I moved to Southwest Philly when we bought a new home. We didn’t know about the oil refinery, but immediately when we moved in we all had difficulty breathing, particularly my grandchildren who have asthma. ACTION United has joined the Green Justice Philly coalition to say no new pollution and no expansion of the refinery. We as a community need to come together in unity and fight back against the plans to expand because our community matters,” said Teresa Hill, an ACTION United member and Southwest Philadelphia resident.

“Today is the first step in building a movement to protect Philadelphians’ health and safety from a serial corporate polluter,” said Sam Bernhardt, Senior Pennsylvania Organizer for Food & Water Watch. “We look forward to working with communities around the city to envision what a true 21st century Philadelphia economy looks like.”

“Green Justice Philly is working to help Philadelphia turn away from polluting industries and the dead end of dirty energy towards a green economy with the job stability and healthy air, water, and communities it can support,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

Green Justice Philly is a coalition of environmental and community organizations including, ACTION United, Food & Water Watch, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Maypop Collective for Economic and Climate Justice, and Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. For more information, visit www.greenjusticephilly.org.

The launch event will take place outside today’s Air Pollution Control Board, an advisory body to Air Management Services. The launch is part of the October 14th People’s Climate Movement Day of Action. Over 100 cities across the United States are taking action today to demand climate justice.

Contacts:

Sam Bernhardt: 267-428-1903 sbernhardt@fwwatch.org 

Garrett Ettinger: 570 497 6196 gettinger@actionunited.org

Tracy Carluccio: 215.369.1188 tracy@delawareriverkeeper.org

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