Philadelphia legislators release statement on PES closure

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State legislators from Philadelphia, including Rep. Jordan Harris, House Democratic Whip, Sen. Anthony Williams, Senate Democratic Whip, Rep. Maria Donatucci, Sen. Larry Farnese, Senate Democratic Secretary, and Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, issued the following statement on the announced closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery:

“The explosion and subsequent fire at the PES refinery last week sent a shockwave, both literally and figuratively, through our community. The announcement of the closure of the refinery is another blow to the thousands of workers who earn a living and support their family through their hard work in South Philadelphia.

“We thoroughly expect PES to comply with the federal WARN Act to help protect the employees who will be losing their job and we’ve already been in contact with the Department of Labor and Industry to ensure that Governor Tom Wolf’s Rapid Response unit is ready and will be utilized to help the affected workers.

“PES, the largest refinery on the East Coast, has been a staple in South Philadelphia for decades. Quality union jobs have sustained families over generations and the loss of these jobs and the connected economic impact will not be easy on our city and our region. However, it is our hope that given the plans to sell the complex, new industry can move in and good, quality family-sustaining jobs will continue to be available to the people we represent.

“We plan to work closely with the governor, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Labor and Industry to ensure that every resource is readily available to help the employees and community surrounding PES. We also anticipate working with the Department of Environmental Protection on remediation of the industrial site as we look toward the next stage for this complex and South Philadelphia.”