Open Letter to EJ in PA Conference Organizers

[Note: this have been updated on 4/6 to reflect the last-minute addition of PECO/Exelon and Fox Rothschild as sponsors and that DEP, PERC, and Harrisburg University did not contribute monetarily to this event, despite being listed as “partners” which is a sponsorship level of $1,000.]

We call for accountability, transparency, and justice in what is being called an “Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania” Summit on April 6, 2021.

One would expect that such a summit would be conceived, planned, and led by environmental justice leaders in Pennsylvania. Instead, this conference is conceived and funded largely by corporate, governmental, non-profit, and academic entities that are long-time perpetrators of environmental racism and social injustice.

We call this out for the sham that it is, and urge that our demands below be met by Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

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Moment of reckoning: US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports- Feb. 21, 2019

 Activists Mike Ewall, left, and Zulene Mayfield stand in front of the Covanta incinerator in Chester, Pennsylvania. The incinerator brings in garbage from New York, Ohio and other states. Photograph: Hannah Yoon/The Guardian


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined PQ Corp., a global manufacturer of materials and chemicals, $750,000 for air quality and other violations at a large Chester facility it operates.

PQ, based in Malvern, owns a 173,000-square-foot plant on West Front Street, where the DEP says emissions exceeded allowances for nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide at various times from 2014 to 2018.

The facility produces sodium silicate, a chemical compound derived from sand and soda ash. Sodium silicate is used in a wide variety of products, including hair colorings, cleaners, and water treatment systems.

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