NO SEPTA GAS PLANTS IN PHILADELPHIA!
|The Honorable Mayor Kenney |
and City Council Members
Philadelphia's PA State Senators|
and PA State Representatives
Dear Mayor Kenney, City Council Members, State Senators and Representatives:
We demand a cancelation of permits granted by Licenses and Inspections (11/22/17) and Air Management Services (11/28/17) for SEPTA's polluting gas power plant at 4301 Wissahickon Avenue, in Nicetown, which borders East Falls, Germantown, and Tioga. Please act decisively to prevent this threat to human health. This shortsighted project would add no benefit to our city's residents, and result in serious environmental and economic degradation. The Midvale plant is a test case. SEPTA has floated plans for additional plants in Powelton Yards near 30th St. Station, at 69th St., as well as in South and Central Philadelphia, making this a citywide policy issue.
- The Midvale plant would place complex physical and mental burdens on victims of disease, and on their families. It would strain health clinics and hospitals, serving the area.
- Gas-fired power plants emit, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. According to the World Health Organization, these materials contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, preterm delivery, low birth weights, eye, nose and throat irritations, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, skin problems, and premature mortality, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Recent studies have found that ultrafine particles, emitted from gas plants, directly enter the bloodstream through the lungs, then create plaque in the blood vessels and brain, leading to heart disease, cognitive growth dysfunction for children, and dementia in older adults.
- On 11/21/17, AMS posted a "Revised Technical Review" on their website. A chart measures cancer risk associated with the following newly listed emissions: formaldehyde, tetrachloroethane, trichloroethane, butadiene dichloropropene, methylnaphthalene, trimethylpentane, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(e)pyrene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, biphenyl,carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, chloroform, chrysene, ethylbenzene, ethylene dibromide, fluoranthene, fluorine, methanol, methylene chloride, n-hexane, naphthalene, PAH, phenanthrene, phenol, pyrene, styrene, tetrachloroethane, toluene, vinyl chloride, and xylene. It is unfair to the public that this long list of chemicals was quietly added, one week before a permit was issued, and five months after the public comment period. Cancer was never a known health risk until that document was revised. No one volunteers to be a cancer statistic.
- Pollution levels from the plant would be unpredictable. There is no plan to install equipment to continuously monitor pollutants, as they are emitted. SEPTA is only obligated to estimate monthly average gas usage, which means different amounts can be burned unpredictably from day to day. Spikes in usage can increase asthma attacks. AMS's written plan claims that the plant will not operate to its capacity, since to do so would emit over 25 tons of NOx a year, and thus, put the plant in the major category. Major plants legally require equipment to monitor emissions. Neighbors have no way to measure whether the plant is operating in full capacity mode.
- Emission tests are only required once every 8760 hours, or every three years, whichever comes first. That is wholly inadequate.
- The choice of Nicetown for SEPTA's gas plant is egregious, because Nicetown, a predominantly African American neighborhood, sits in a topographical bowl. Nearly one third of children in the Nicetown 19140 ZIP code have been diagnosed with asthma (Philadelphia Health Management Corporation 2012). Air pollution in Nicetown is above the city's average, and the area needs relief. It can be easily argued that choosing Nicetown is environmental racism. Our city is only as strong as its weakest link.
- Toxic gas burning plants are unjustifiable as a way for the city to bolster PGW, or to appease the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Politicians should protect constituents above all other agendas.
- In June, Mayor Kenney pledged to move Philadelphia towards 100% renewable energy. New gas plants are counter to his pledge. We see no acceptable reason for SEPTA to commit to gas for the next 20-30 years, when municipal transportation systems in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, India, Chile, and China are transitioning to 100% renewable energy solutions.
- The recent June 15, 2016 explosion at Veolia gas plant in Grays Ferry proves that there is a risk of an explosion at the Midvale plant, which would sit adjacent to a CSX crude oil railroad route. Oil train derailments can lead to powerful explosions, fires and toxic spills.
- As a long-term financial investment, gas-burning plants are unwise for our transit system, and therefore the city as a whole. The cost of wind and solar energy has fallen dramatically, and financial analysts expect the cost of gas to rise significantly over the next two decades. It would be fiscally foolish for SEPTA to sign a long-term contract for electricity generated by gas.
- Gas plants in residential neighborhoods would erode property values and repel small businesses. A downgrade in air quality would affect "quality of life," making it less desirable to visit or reside in impacted neighborhoods, some of which are currently marked for real estate improvements.
- If SEPTA is genuinely seeking a "back-up" electrical system for their regional rail line, battery storage technology has advanced, and can replace power plants. San Diego and western Los Angeles are building a 100 MW battery storage system that can power the energy needs for these giant metropolitan areas. During day and night hours, solar and wind energy will replenish these battery systems. Both BART in the Bay area, and the Netherlands have committed to powering their trains with renewable energy. The technology is available to move toward a cleaner energy power source.
Bucks County Sierra Club
Bucks Environmental Action
Elk County C.A.R.E.S.
Energy Justice Network
Food and Water Watch PA
Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia
Green Party of Philadelphia
Hunting Park United
Johnson House Historic Site, Inc.
Penn Knox Neighborhood Association
Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
Plan:Post-Landfill Action Network
POWER CORPS PHL
Sierra Club, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter
The Colored Girls Museum
US Human Rights Network
Wissahickon Charter School Parent Partnership
Wissahickon Charter School
Endorsing Local Businesses:
Asayah LocNurturing & Styling
Cane and Rush
Canter Hill Farm
Caring For Minds Early Learning Center
Farm to City
Germantown Espresso Bar
Golden Crust Pizza III
Maplewood Nutrition Shop
Moma's Wellness Joint
Philadelphia Hair Artistry Inc
Philly Office Retail
Ray's Auto Repair
The Flower Cafe
Trolley Car Diner & Ice Cream Shoppe
Trolley Car Cafe
Trolley Car Table Tennis Club
Wayne & Berkley Seafood