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Lawmakers Discuss Safety of Idled Delco Refineries

Marcus Hook Mayor James Schiliro. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

Marcus Hook Mayor James Schiliro. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Officials of Sunoco and ConocoPhillips told state lawmakers Tuesday they are still working to find a buyer for their idled Delaware County refineries, while local emergency response officials expressed concerns that they may be left holding the bag if no buyers are found.

Sunoco Senior VP John Pickering addressed the state House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

“Similar to what ConocoPhillips described, our sales process is ongoing and we are talking to a number of interested buyers that have the financial and technical wherewithal to continue operating the refinery.”

But the hearing was not about the prospects for a sale. Rather, it was about the safety of the facilities absent a sale. The refinery officials promised to maintain an appropriate level of emergency response, but Marcus Hook Mayor James Schiliro (pictured at microphone at left) says too many unanswered questions remain.

“Are you going to have the foam tankers there? Are they going to stay, or are you taking the foam tankers to Philadelphia? The equipment that’s in place there for a fire now with the refinery in full operation – are you going to take that equipment and split it up because you don’t have all that product there?”

Schiliro says even a small amount of product can be dangerous.