Every day trains carry around 160,000 barrels of oil through Philadelphia. Following a series of derailments in South Philadelphia and over the Schuylkill River, Clean Water Action is planning a series of 90-minute community listening meetings around crude oil by rail in various Philadelphia neighborhoods.
The meetings are scheduled in areas affected by crude-by-rail transport, and the first workshop was held last Thursday, January 29 in Francisville.
According to Mike Roles, program organizer at Clean Water Action, attendees were engaged and wanted to take follow-up steps. Council President Darrell Clarke’s Constituent Services Director, Melvin Smith, was also present.
“One thing that everyone wanted to do was to request a community workshop from the Office of Emergency Management so that residents know what to do and how to prepare for emergencies,” Roles said in an email. “Overall, everyone wants to come together and move forward to best ensure that neighborhoods are prepared, and that governments are doing better to safeguard our communities.”
Each of the meetings will allow community members to discuss concerns about crude oil by rail. Roles said the first 30 minutes of the meetings will include a powerpoint presentation to deliver some background on the issue and where opportunities for action exist. The next hour will be dedicated to hearing feedback from the participants at the workshop. Clean Water Action will provide some prompt questions to help drive the conversation.
After the meetings, Clean Water Action will share the information with decision makers. The feedback portion of the meetings will be digitally recorded so that Clean Water Action can include it in an upcoming report.
Roles said they had received about 70 total confirmed RSVPs for the meetings and that Clean Water Action had also invited council members to attend.
Additional meetings will be held on February 4, at the TTF Watershed Partnership @ Globe Dye Works (4500 Worth Street) at 6 p.m. and February 10 at Weavers Way Community Room (555 Carpenter Lane) at 6:30 p.m.
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Meetings will also be held in West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia and Manayunk, with exact dates and times TBA.
Image via Mary Donahue-30-
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