City Council committee gives green light for controversial gas plant in Southwest Philly

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia City Council committee has given the go-ahead to the construction of a liquid natural gas plant in Southwest Philadelphia. The vote came over the objections of neighbors and environmental groups. 

Philadelphia Gas Works president Craig White testified that the plant would accomplish several goals. It would generate income, create jobs and, he said, be good for the environment. 

"Natural gas makes up the lion's share of the reduction we have seen in harmful emissions over the last ten years," White said.

He said the gas produced at the facility would replace dirty diesel or coal-generated energy. 

READ: Wolf orders state agencies to reduce carbon emissions 

But Flora Cardoni of PennEnvironment said that was a mischaracterization.

"Natural gas is not renewable and it is not clean. It is considered a fossil fuel that releases methane into the air," Cardoni said. 

That methane, she said, would primarily impact the low-income communities of color closest to the plant at 3100 Passyunk Avenue. At least a dozen advocates and neighbors joined her call to kill the project, sometimes quite emotionally.

"Please, please help us live. We want to live," said one advocate.  

But the bill OK'ing the plant passed unanimously and now goes to the full council.