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Unlikely Fellowship Saved Thousands of Jobs

by Wil Levins

Philly RefineryBelow are a few paragraphs from "Taking Care of Our Own: How Democrats, Republicans, Business, and Labor Saved Thousands of Jobs and Our Refineries", a case study commissioned by Temple University's Center for Regional Politics, which detailed the potentially calamitous  events that transpired over the past two years for our region's energy production future. 

As someone who lived directly within this uncertainty, and was prepared to completely turn their family's lives upside down in the event of a closure, I can personally attest to the economic disaster that an unsuccessful outcome would have brought to the workers connected with the refineries, the people of the Philadelphia/South Jersey region, and to the sharp costs that the entire Northeastern United States would have had to pay.

I am very thankful to all of those individuals who played a part in keeping the refineries open and our area's economic future filled with opportunity. As it now stands today, the Delaware Valley is poised to become a major developer in global energy production and none of it would have been possible if not for these various interests putting aside their long-standing differences and working together toward a common goal.

Follow the link below to read the entire study - I believe it would make a great movie.

Excerpt from "Taking Care of our Own":

Taken together, these three Southeastern Pennsylvania refining facilities have formed a complex network that is one of the lesser known but nonetheless vital pillars of the regional economy. These refineries are among the Delaware Valley’s biggest producers of jobs and taxes. And their production - or lack thereof - influences energy costs across the entire northeast.

And so when, in September 2011, the Sunoco and Conoco companies announced their plans to sell or close each of these plants, the implications for the region were profound. Economically, the shutdowns would have proved devastating, far more so than was immediately appreciated at the time. The price of gas and heating oil would have been subject to sharp increases. And there was worry even at the White House about the implications for homeland security.

But the obstacles to finding new buyers or new uses for the sites were enormous. Market conditions in the refining business were bleak, and the facilities themselves were old, in need both of new investment and a cheaper supply of crude oil. The unions were restless. Some of the politicians were angry. And the companies selling off the refineries appeared to many to be disengaged, more focused on getting out than finding buyers.