KYW Regional Affairs Council

“The Delaware Valley Unrefined”


By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some might ask why we should care if three local refineries close, given what’s happening elsewhere in this economy.

If, like most people, you’re worried about gasoline prices, you might.  (See related story.)

Regional supply is key but, even in a worst-case scenario there would still be two operating refineries in our area: Paulsboro, NJ and Delaware City, Del.

earnest neal mucest prov Part 2:  Why You Should Care

(Neal Earnest of Muce Stancil. Photo provided)

Suppliers would have to shift things around a bit to make up the shortfall, particularly for the loss of refining capacity in Philadelphia, but that can be done relatively quickly, according to Neal Earnest (right), an oil analyst at Dallas-based Muse Stancil and Company.

“Once that takes place, which may be three to six months perhaps in duration, I think it’ll be difficult to discern any significant price impact in Philadelphia or, really, anywhere else,” he told KYW Newsradio recently.

meehan pat vtight Part 2:  Why You Should Care

(Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., in file photo)

But if something disrupts that supply plan, all bets are off.  And since this area will depend on pipelines a lot more, US congressman Pat Meehan (R-Pa., right) of Delaware County is worried about potential terrorism.

“It’s natural that you could imagine (it), because of the issues in the Mideast,” Meehan says, “but the interruption of the flow of energy can create real downstream implications to an economy.”

minott joe clean air cncl thumb madden Part 2:  Why You Should Care

(Joe Minott of the Clean Air Council. Credit: David Madden)

But with fewer refineries, you’d think one thing would improve — the environment.  Joe Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council (right), sees a mixed blessing for this region.

“The air quality will be better in Philadelphia when this plant closes down,” he notes, “but we also have to take into consideration that unemployment is a major public health factor. Also, we’d lose the (tax) revenues for the cities.”

And it’s that ripple effect that has a lot of local leaders worried.


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