Evergreen is in the process of receiving questions from the public concerning the approved Remedial Investigation Reports. These reports will be revised if new information is found concerning the conclusions of the Remedial Investigation Reports. The comments received during this phase will also inform the future Act 2 phases, which have yet to occur at the site. These include the Fate and Transport, Risk Assessment, and Cleanup Plan phases.
Note that this question was also forwarded to DEP for response. DEP’s response was: “You are correct that public participation should occur throughout the Act 2 process and not after reports have already been approved. Unfortunately, there was a lapse in the administration of the public involvement requirements for this project, and this is the reason the previously approved reports were “reopened” for 120 days to provide for public comment now. Based on the comments submitted, additional environmental work may be required, and the reports may need to be revised. At a minimum, Act 2 requires public access to documents, a public meeting, opportunities for public comment, and responses to those comments from the remediator. Two-way communications (submittal of questions, concerns, and suggestions by the public and responses to those comments by the remediator) is central to public involvement. Act 2 does not mandate, nor does it enable DEP to require, additional public involvement actions. However, because of the size, duration, and complexity of the Philadelphia Refinery cleanup project, Evergreen has agreed to implement several other community involvement measures. They are also planning small group meetings which would allow for two-way consultation between Evergreen and the community. The public involvement activities must continue for the entirely of the Act 2 process.
DEP has also provided input on their guidance with respect to the public’s role in Act 2 reports as provided here: “Act 2 and our regulations and guidance describe several measures “to involve the public in the development and review” of reports, some of which are required. The intent of these measures is to collect comments, suggestions, concerns, and questions on the Act 2 work. The remediator’s responses to this input may result in revisions to the report, and in this manner the public influences the development of the report. The public is not just on the receiving end, but it’s correct that the primary public role is to comment on the work being done. Those comments can impact both the remediator’s actions and also DEP’s technical review and decision to approve the report.”