The largest oil refinery on the U.S. East Coast, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), plans to permanently shut down. While many anti-energy activists may be cheering, there are thousands of workers being negatively impacted by the sudden closure.
PES employs over 1,100 workers including nearly 700 union workers, Steelworkers and Steamfitters, as well as thousands of contractors. About 100 non-union employees are set to be laid off immediately, most of the nearly 700 union employees are expected to lose their jobs as soon as next week.
The shutdown of the refinery will also have rippling effects on Pennsylvania’s economy. An article by The Philadelphia Inquirer cites United Steelworkers Local 10-1 president Ryan O’Callaghan as being extremely disheartened by the loss of jobs.
Good paying, family-sustaining jobs are being lost, and if Delaware and Chester County government officials have their way, thousands more will be out of work. In the obsessive push to put an end to energy infrastructure development many often, if not conveniently, forget about the hundreds of thousands of people that are employed by the energy industry.
Pennsylvania is the home of the first oil discovery and has recently grown to become the second largest natural gas producer in the country. At a time when Pennsylvania should be investing more into the growing energy economy, this news moves the needle on workforce development in the wrong direction. We must make sure that we are bolstering energy jobs in the Commonwealth and keeping hard working Pennsylvanians employed.