A Philadelphia refinery’s plans to expand operations is drawing opposition from local residents, clergy members and environmental activists, who say it will emit toxic emissions and endanger the health of people living nearby.

At issue: 195 acres of vacant land at the Navy Yard’s Southport terminal. The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) -- the state agency which owns it -- plans to lease it, and has asked for financial and development plans from six interested parties.

Clean-air compliance

According to news sources, dozens of city residents and environmental activists asked the port officials this week to disqualify one of the six, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. Community organizations ACTION United and the Green Justice Philly coalition said the refinery owned by Philadelphia Energy Solutions has a history of noncompliance with federal clean-air standards.

One resident at the demonstration, whose family has lived near the refinery for decades, noted that four of her nine siblings died from respiratory cancer, and that her ten-year-old son has asthma.

What the plans call for

Philadelphia Energy Solutions has submitted a tentative proposal to build an oil import/export facility on the land which would have ten 250,000-barrel tanks for storing crude, gasoline and diesel. A buoyed dock would be built to load and off-load ships, and large pumps and piping would connect the facility to the South Philadelphia refinery.

The PRPA said community input would be considered in the review process.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has said that developing Southport could create between 590 and 4,000 new jobs.