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The People of Philadelphia Do Not Want More Air Pollution:
Stop the Gas Plant in Nicetown

Please sign onto this petition if you object to forcing Philadelphia residents to inhale toxic materials. Sign on if you understand that if almost 1/3 of children in Nicetown are diagnosed with asthma, then no one, not even SEPTA, has the right to build a polluting power plant in Nicetown. Sign on if you believe that public health and reducing greenhouse gases should be the city's priorities.

SEPTA has adequate power from PECO, and does not need a gas plant to produce electricity. The gas industry has put political pressure on SEPTA to become a fracked gas customer. Let's steer SEPTA away from building polluting plants in Philadelphia's residential neighborhoods!

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The Honorable Mayor Kenney
and City Council Members
Philadelphia, PA
    Philadelphia's State Senators
and Representatives
Harrisburg, PA

Dear Mayor Kenney, City Council Members, State Senators and Representatives,

We are joined together in opposition to SEPTA's application to build a polluting gas power plant in Nicetown, at their Midvale Complex, bordering East Falls, Germantown, and Tioga. Please act decisively to prevent this unnecessary project, which would add no benefit to our city's residents or to our economy, and would result in serious environmental degradation. The Midvale plant is a test case. SEPTA has future plans to build plants in South, Central and West Philadelphia, making this a citywide policy issue.
  1. The Midvale plant would harm human health, placing complex physical, mental, and emotional burdens on victims and their families, and would strain health clinics and hospitals serving the area. According to the World Health Organization, gas-fired power plant emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide compounds, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide, contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, preterm delivery and the risk of low birth weight babies, eye, nose and throat irritation, 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, travel to tissues, and create plaque in the blood vessels and brain, leading to heart disease, and cognitive dysfunction among children and older adults.

    1. Pollution levels from the plant would be unpredictable, because 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.

    2. Emission tests are only required once every 8760 hours, or every three years, whichever comes first, according to SEPTA and Air Management Services documents. That is wholly inadequate.

    3. Tanks of ammonia will be positioned at the plant, and ammonia sprayed in the stack, to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Ammonia fumes were not listed in SEPTA's application to AMS.

  2. We remember the June 15, 2016 explosion at Veolia gas plant in Grays Ferry. 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.

  3. The choice of Nicetown for SEPTA's gas plant is egregious, because Nicetown, a predominantly African American, low income neighborhood, sits in a topographical bowl. Nearly one third of children in the 19140 ZIP code have been diagnosed with asthma (Philadelphia Health Management Corporation 2012). Air pollution in Nicetown is above the city's average, due to SEPTA's Midvale bus depot, the Roosevelt Expressway, and freight trains carrying oil to the South Philadelphia refinery. The area needs relief, and it can be easily argued that choosing Nicetown is environmental racism. Our city is only as strong as its weakest link.

  4. As a long-term financial investment, gas-burning plants would be unwise for our transit system, and therefore the city as a whole. The cost of wind and solar energy has fallen dramatically, and many analysts expect the cost of gas to rise significantly over the next two decades. It would be fiscally very risky, and irresponsible for SEPTA to sign a long-term contract for electricity generated by gas.

  5. Gas burning plants in residential neighborhoods would erode the property values and attractiveness to small businesses. A downgrade in air quality would affect quality of life and make it less desirable to reside or visit in impacted neighborhoods, some of which are currently marked for real estate improvements.

  6. In June, Mayor Kenney pledged to move Philadelphia towards 100% renewable energy. New gas plants would be counter to the pledge, and shift Philadelphia away from being a world-class city. 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. It is also unacceptable that toxic gas plants were planned as a way to prop up PGW, and appease the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which seeks permits for pipelines to our city.

  7. 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 daylight and at nighttime, 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.
In conclusion, SEPTA should carefully study how other transit systems are using battery technology and renewable energy sources to power their trains for the long term future. We encourage the City of Philadelphia to do everything within its power to prevent the permitting and building of SEPTA's Midvale gas plant, and appreciate your swift attention to this matter.


Endorsing Organizations:
Bucks County Sierra Club
Bucks Environmental Action
City Coho
Elk County C.A.R.E.S.
Food and Water Watch PA
Green Party of Philadelphia
Live Decent
Penn Knox Neighborhood Association
Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
Plan:Post-Landfill Action Network
Sierra Club, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter
The Colored Girls Museum

Endorsing Local Businesses:
Asayah LocNurturing & Styling
Ballerz Barbershop
Cane and Rush
Canter Hill Farm
Caring For Minds Early Learning Center
Farm to City
Germantown Espresso Bar
Golden Crust Pizza III
Gomez Supermarket
Lunaria Gardens
Map Media
Maplewood Nutrition Shop
Mermaid Hotel
Moma's Wellness Joint
Ray's Auto Repair
Taproot Farm
The Flower Cafe
Wayne & Berkley Seafood