City Council hears concerns over impact of pollutants in at-risk neighborhoods

Members of Philadelphia City Council listen to testimony at hearing of the Health and Human Services Committee. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Members of Philadelphia City Council listen to testimony at hearing of the Health and Human Services Committee. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council held a hearing Wednesday on how environmental issues can disproportionately impact minority communities in at-risk neighborhoods in the city.

Dr Walter Tsu of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility was among the speaker and specifically lamented a heat and power plant planned by SEPTA in Philadelphia that will run on methane gas.

“In an era of climate change we need to require renewal energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and tidal as the first choice for energy production, and we should not allow a permit unless it can prove that renewable energy cannot satisfy the needs of the proposed power plant,” he said.

Councilman Derek Green spoke about recyclables in Philadelphia, saying they should not be incinerated no matter how contaminated they are.

“I have a major concern that we are burning about 45 percent of our recycling product in violation of state law,” he said.

The hearing had no result, although council members are considering options.

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