Evergreen understands the community’s interest in the site and is committed to providing meaningful public involvement. Evergreen has reached out in many ways, beyond Act 2 requirements, to work with the public and identify the best and most productive ways to engage. Evergreen has already taken several actions to involve the public in meaningful ways as bulleted below. In addition to the items listed below, Evergreen plans to expand outreach/communication efforts throughout future Act 2 phases and reports and is engaging with the community in small groups to garner additional input on the best methods for future communication and engagement activities. Future meetings are already planned that can be used to discuss topics that are of particular interest to the public based on receipt of comments/questions to date. This may include the public involvement process, climate change, lower aquifer conditions, contaminant transport, site cleanup, etc. All of these activities are part of the development of an advisory process that is planned to be discussed in more detail during the March 31, 2021 public meeting.
Below are some examples of recent public engagement activities conducted by Evergreen:
Comprehensive Website: Evergreen created a website for the Philly Refinery remediation program, which offers full public access to the completed Act 2 reports, the PADEP comments to these reports, and supporting information and background. The reports have been posted on this site since it was opened in July 2019 and we have continued to supplement with additional background and presentations. The website also includes an area for the public to directly submit comments and questions; a full record of past questions and comments, along with Evergreen’s responses; the dates and logistics of upcoming events, including public meetings, report submittals, etc.; and email and U.S. mail addresses opened solely to accept public questions and comments. This website will be updated continually and will provide an information hub for the public to access information about Evergreen’s activities at the facility. Hard Copy Mailer: Evergreen sent a hard copy mailer to all known addresses of residents and businesses within approximately one mile of the site in June 2020 to notify the public about Evergreen’s investigation and remediation activities, the availability of documents for public review, and the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with Evergreen. Meetings with Community Groups: Evergreen has met with Philly Thrive on a number of occasions since the initial meeting attempt in November 2019. Philly Thrive members have provided insight into the community and Evergreen will continue to reach out to Philly Thrive and other local groups in an effort to reach other interested stakeholders. Participation in Existing Community Advisory Panel: Evergreen will be available to discuss any legacy remediation activities with the existing Community Advisory Panel (CAP), which was initially created for the site by Sunoco to provide updates on environmental matters to the public. PES continued this CAP, and Evergreen provided PES with updates on remediation progress for use during the CAP meetings. Hilco Redevelopment Partners has also continued this CAP, which serves as an open forum for discussion with community stakeholders. Plain Language Summaries: Due to the technical nature of the Act 2 process, the reports include a lot of technical terms, concepts and acronyms. Evergreen has created plain-language summaries for the Act 2 reports, as well as a plain-language summary to assist in the public’s review of these documents. Evergreen will continue to include plain-language summaries along with all future Act 2 submittals. Translation of Documents: Evergreen has provided translations of the plain-language summaries as well as the presentation given during the Aug. 27, 2020, public information session into Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese, since these represent the next three most common languages spoken by community members surrounding the former Philadelphia Refinery (in addition to English). Local Library Access: Act 2 reports are also available at two local library branches, noted on the website, along with all other Act 2 documents. All future reports will be added to the library as well. Public Information Sessions: Evergreen hosted a virtual Public Information Session on August 27, 2020 to provide the public with an overview of the investigation and remediation program to date at the facility. This meeting provided a summary of all Act 2 reports submitted since the site entered the Act 2 program in 2006. This meeting marked the beginning of an additional 120-day review period for each report, as each report had a public notice and comment period at the time of their submittal and before their review by the PADEP. The end of the review period was marked with a second meeting on January 28, 2021 where commonly asked questions were reviewed, and an open question and answer period was conducted. Email Blasts: Evergreen has worked with the City of Philadelphia, regulators and community leaders to create an email distribution list for individuals, civic groups and local businesses who may be interested in the Act 2 process at the site. Any person submitting a question or comment is added to this list for future communication. Email notifications have been, and will continue to be, sent to this distribution list in advance of public meetings and report submittals. People receiving these notifications are encouraged to share them with others who may also be interested in the process.