Public Enemy #1 - June 2019
On Friday, June 21 Center City and the surrounding areas felt monumental shakes. At 4 a.m. the Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant let off several explosions which led to debris being spread across the city. the Philadelphia Fire Department arrived on the scene to secure the area and no major injuries were reported, but that's not what has residents up in arms.
The oil refinery, which happens to be the largest on the East Coast, has had malfunctions for years. Just a month prior there was another fire. The previous owners of the plant, Sunoco, were cited for a hydrofluoric acid leak in 2009. All the while situated in the heart of Philadelphia. Because of this, the oversights of the fossil fuel industry literally affect everyone around them.
Protests led by Philly Thrive, a citizens rights group for the city, began after the explosion as residents in the area had just about had enough. The plant acts as the greatest source of air pollution in Philadelphia according to the Inquirer. In fact, a 2017 N.A.A.C.P. report found that 72 percent of toxic air emissions in the city can be traced to the South Philadelphia plant.
Despite assurance from city officials, residents still have concerns and have cited fears of cancer and asthma risk.
The Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant receives this months designation as the Public Enemy as they are an example of peak capitalism. A system and infrastructure exists in the present merely to extract as much out of a non-renewable energy source while simultaneously harming the community around it. While the plant is seemingly heading for closure in the area, the real effects can only be measured through the lives of the community around it.
See what Twitter had to say about the explosion below: