USW: Shutdown of Philadelphia-Area Refineries Threatens Country’s National, Economic Security

USW President Leo W. Gerard Again Requests FAA, FTC Investigation of Closures

Philadelphia–(ENEWSPF)–April 3, 2012.  USW Local 10-234 President Denis Stephano submitted testimony March 30 to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence about the threat to the country’s national and economic security posed by the permanent shutdown of the ConocoPhillips Trainer, Pa., Sunoco Marcus Hook, Pa., and Sunoco Philadelphia refineries.

“It does not make sense for the U.S. to be dependent on other nations for its gasoline and fuel when our nation is trying to be energy self-sufficient with crude oil supplies,” Stephano wrote.

Not being able to depend upon Northeast refining capacity during a global crisis impacts the country’s national security, he testified. He also detailed how being dependent on the Gulf Coast for fuel supplies is a hindrance when hurricanes hit the area.

Stephano wrote about the logistical problems in getting oil products to the Northeast and how being dependent on oil product imports affects U.S. economic security. Up to 36,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the region losing its Philadelphia-area refineries, and the area could receive a $560 million economic blow from lost tax revenue.

Stephano’s testimony and an attached chart are available HERE and HERE.

FAA & FTC Asked to Investigate Closures
USW President Leo W. Gerard issued another request on April 2 to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the impact of the closures on jet fuel supply and pricing, consumers, potential anti-competitive business practices and the marketplace.

The three Philadelphia-area refineries produced the majority of jet fuel refined on the East Coast and have historically supplied the airports in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. Gerard expressed his concern about the potential price spikes resulting from the refinery shutdowns in a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Michael P. Huerta. He urged the agency to investigate the potential supply and quality problems arising from the refinery shutdowns. To ensure there is a reliable supply, he asked that the agency take whatever steps are available to keep the refineries open.

USW President Leo W. Gerard’s letter to the FAA is available HERE.

Gerard noted the economic devastation the closures of the ConocoPhillips, Sunoco and HOVENSA refineries would cause the respective regions in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. He asked the FTC to follow through with its mission “to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”

“We urge the FTC to undertake a thorough audit of the four refineries to verify on an independent basis whether or not the companies’ claims of unprofitability and economic un-sustainability have any merit,” Gerard wrote.

USW President Leo W. Gerard’s letter to the FTC is available HERE.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in pulp, paper and packaging, metals, rubber, chemicals, oil refining, atomic energy, government and the service sector.