‘We suffer for everybody else’s comfort’: LNG facility proposed in Chester draws pushback – Philadelphia Inquirer (8/22/23)
Regional labor leaders, eager to create more construction jobs, have tried to raise support for a gas liquefaction plant and export terminal along the Delaware River.
by Frank Kummer
The third and final public hearing about building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Southeastern Pennsylvania turned out to be the most raucous, with a crowd Tuesday opposing the facility cheering on a local Chester City activist who noted that no one on the panel mulling the proposal’s fate is from the city or Delaware County.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Martina White, a Republican from Philadelphia and chair of Pennsylvania’s Liquid Natural Gas Task Force, hosted the meeting at Widener University’s Lathem Hall to explore the economics of such a terminal, the needed state and federal permitting, and the environmental impact.
Although it has gone unstated during the meetings, the only known plan is from a New York firm, Penn LNG, headed by a native Philadelphian, to build a $6.4 billion terminal along the waterfront in Chester City, which is in Delaware County, as a way to capitalize on the abundance of Pennsylvania shale gas and soaring worldwide demand for LNG after Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.
Regional labor leaders, eager to create more construction jobs, have tried to raise support for a gas liquefaction plant and export terminal along the Delaware River, similar to facilities that have sprouted on the U.S. Gulf Coast and turned the United States into a major natural gas exporter. The Penn LNG proposal would include LNG manufacturing at the marine terminal, meaning gas would be cooled there to a temperature that allows it to be stored and transported.
Proponents say an LNG facility would bring thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue to the area. Opponents are concerned about pollution and additional blight of the Chester City waterfront, which already contains a Covanta waste-to-energy facility and the Delcora plant that treats industrial sludge and wastewater.
“If this is such an economic plus for communities, why aren’t members, task force legislators fighting tooth and nail to have this economic development in their communities?” asked Zulene Mayfield, a longtime activist who testified Tuesday. “Why would you deny your communities all of this wealth?”