The Remedial Investigation Reports have been available at PADEP for the public for review since the time of their submittal. The reports have been posted to Evergreen’s website created for the refinery project since July 2019. The 120-day comment period consists of the time between the first Public Information Session, on Aug. 27, 2020, and the second Public Information Session on Jan. 14, 2021. The Public Comment Remedial Investigation Report submitted on March 31, 2021 includes the comments and questions received since the attempted meeting in November 2019, including the “120-day” comment period from August 2020 to January 2021.
Once the Public Comment RIR is accepted by the PADEP, Evergreen will then submit the Remedial Investigation Report Addendums to address reports that had not been approved by PADEP. These reports outline the nature and extent of contamination; they do not propose a final cleanup plan. The majority of the questions raised by the public concern topics that will be addressed in future reports and activities that cannot take place until remedial investigation is complete.
The required 120-day period, which will have actually been open for 14 months, since notice went out for the planned November 2019 meeting, is only for the Remedial Investigation Reports; the public will again have the opportunity to engage Evergreen concerning all future Act 2 phases, including Risk Assessment and Cleanup Plans. These two phases will encompass many of the questions and concerns that the public has provided to date.
Philly Thrive had previously requested removal of the 120-day comment period in August 2020, to which Evergreen provided the following responses:
- The 120-day timeframe was agreed to by the City, DEP and EPA.
- The CO&A entered between Sunoco and DEP includes deadlines for remediation progress, requiring that the Remedial Investigation reports be completed in order to move to the next phones of the Act 2 process. Evergreen cannot move forward with the Act 2 cleanup process without finalizing these reports.
- The previously submitted reports have been available for public review/comment for over a year and many public comments have already been received and addressed. The 120-day period being proposed is an extension of this overall review period.
DEP offered the following response to Philly Thrive’s request as well: “The duration of the public Comment period isn’t defined by Act 2 and DEP does not decide its length. The public involvement plan was created by Evergreen with input from the city. We have had several conversations with these parties and EPA concerning the public comment period, and we also participated in meetings with Thrive on this topic (in December 2019 and May 2020). We understand that city representatives are satisfied with the 120-day period. DEP considers 120-days to be appropriate considering that Act 2 documents have been available online since July 2019 and Evergreen has been accepting public comments snice November 2019.”