BENICIA LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: A victory in Philadelphia

By Roger Straw, Thanksgiving, 2016

What’s next now that oil trains have been stopped here in Benicia? Check out the good news from Philadelphia, and dream about Benicia’s port in the future…  Community, environmental, and labor groups working together for green infrastructure improvements and new green union jobs?  Sounds good, yes!  – RS

greenjusticephilly_logoFor Immediate Release: November 22, 2016
CONTACT: Sam Rubin, srubin@fwwatch.org, 401-439-3203
Tracy Carluccio, tracy@delawareriverkeeper.org 215.369.1188 ext. 104 (rings to cell)
Matt Walker, mwalker@cleanair.org, 215-567-4004 ext. 121

Gov. Wolf’s New Port Plan Rejects Fossil Fuels

After Months-long Campaign, Green Justice Philly Celebrates Decision as Protecting Community Health, Growing Family-Supporting Jobs

Philadelphia, PA — The Green Justice Philly coalition applauds the announcement that Governor Tom Wolf and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) will dedicate $300 million to developing shipping capacity at the Port of Philadelphia and making green improvements to existing infrastructure at Southport, which represents a firm rejection of fossil fuel projects at the site.

Sheree Arnold, a community leader from Southwest Philadelphia said, “Today I told the PRPA about how toxic pollution affects communities of color in Philadelphia. Literally an hour after taking action today, the PRPA rejected fossil fuel expansion at Southport. This proves that when we stand up together and fight, we win.”

“Community, environmental, and labor groups have been urging PRPA to move our city towards a future that is sustainable and stable,” said Sam Rubin, Eastern Pennsylvania Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “This announcement is a clear rejection of fossil fuels, and will embolden groups to continue campaigning against fossil fuel infrastructure and for well-paying, green jobs in Philadelphia. We remain committed to the working families of the port and making sure that any future development of the port emphasizes family supporting, unionized jobs.”

Green Justice Philly–a coalition of over 25 environmental, community, and labor organizations– has been pushing for the rejection of oil and gas development at Southport for over a year now. The coalition effectively advocated for its position by building strong alliances with labor groups, winning the support of nearly two dozen city and state elected officials, and holding rallies at monthly PRPA board meetings. Earlier today, over 75 community members rallied, calling for PRPA to “open the door to a green jobs future.” The groups are cautiously optimistic about the direction that the PRPA is taking, knowing that the devil is in the details of this implementation.

“The people of Philadelphia, led by Green Justice Philly in alliance with labor, spoke loud and clear to the Philadelphia Port Authority and Governor Wolf that we do not want and cannot tolerate fossil fuel expansion at Southport. Our voices were heard and the outcome will benefit the City, its residents and its workforce by providing jobs that support a green economy rather than dirty fossil fuel development and the harm it inflicts on our community’s health and the environment. We will be watching the process closely to assure the public continues to be involved in the port’s future, but one thing is certain – the river and the City are better protected today because there will be no fossil fuel expansion at Southport and the current port facilities will be improved with green infrastructure such as replacing diesel equipment with electric power,” said Tracy Carluccio, Green Justice Philly Steering Committee and Deputy Director of Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“Governor Wolf and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority sided with clean air, public health, and jobs today when they decided against proposed permanent fossil fuel projects at the Southport site of the Port of Philadelphia,” said Matt Walker, Community Outreach Director with Clean Air Council. “They also decided in favor of positive environmental improvements and initiatives at the Port as well as long-term jobs. This decision demonstrates that Philadelphia will continue to be a leader in promoting a healthier and more livable future for its residents.”

“Protecting the health of our residents, providing good jobs and working to mitigate climate change are moral issues that transcend politics.  We are grateful that we were able to build a broad multi-racial, multi-faith, coalition that could unite around the values of justice, sustainability and the well being of all people. In doing so we were able to stop the largest private equity firm in the world,”, said Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, steering committee of Green Justice Philly, representing the Philadelphia chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light.

Green Justice Philly is a diverse and growing coalition committed to building a healthy, sustainable and economically just Philadelphia region. We work together to oppose the dirty fossil fuel industry that puts our neighborhoods at risk and makes our citizens sick, and cannot contribute to our long-term prosperity.

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