For Immediate Release
June 27, 2019
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement today regarding the announced closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery Complex:
“The pending closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex will have a negative impact on the region’s economy. We understand this was a very difficult decision for management to make, and we are hopeful that the strong economy and the state’s recent renewed interest and investment in workforce development programs mean the hundreds of highly skilled workers at this facility will find a family-sustaining job soon. We are also hopeful that the facility can be returned to productive use under a new owner.
“While the United States, through the advent of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas, has bolstered its energy security position in recent years, there had been a slow erosion in the east coast’s refining and petrochemical asset base for many years prior, and there is a limited amount of pipeline capacity serving the east coast that could bring in fuel from the Gulf or mid-west. With the closure of the PES refinery, the state and region will almost certainly find themselves needing to import finished products from foreign markets – in part because the provisions of the federal Jones Act, which regulates shipping, makes it more cost-effective to ship fuel to the eastern seaboard from across the Atlantic than from another American port, such as in Texas or Louisiana. This situation underscores the need to reform this century-old piece of legislation.
“Further, while the recent fire certainly contributed to the closure, it has been no secret that bad policy on the federal level has placed enormous stress on the state’s refining industry – in particular, the ill-conceived and inordinately expensive ethanol mandates that add significant costs to both refiners and drivers. Compliance obligations for this energy policy consume considerable amounts of revenue from these companies on an annual basis, and we are reiterating our continued call for the reform and repeal of the federal ethanol mandates.
“Finally, we are also extremely dismayed by the reaction to the closure of the facility by some in the environmental community, who are celebrating that this facility will no longer be employing hundreds of local workers that produce fossil fuel-derived products necessary to a modern economy. An ideology that says the only good factory is one that’s closed down is not an ideology that is good for our economy or environment.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.