Rep. Rosita Youngblood’s letter to the EPA

April 26, 2011

Shawn M. Garvin

Regional Administrator

Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Environmental Protection Agency

1650 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

 

Dear Mr. Garvin:

Over the past few months, I have been in contact with officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regarding significant environmental concerns that I have with current plans to develop a discount retail shopping center in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, located in my legislative district. My concerns stem from the sudden and dramatic change in plans to develop this site, located at Chelten and Pulaski avenues, and the myriad of questions relating to the safety for both the environment and the residents of this community with this new development plan.

In correspondence from the state DEP, it has been brought to my attention that the development company has not followed through with the monitoring and quarterly reporting for this development site that was requested by the agency. Although the land being development was the site of a major gas leak in 1990, the state DEP has said there was no need to excavate soils or install any kind of a remediation system to ensure there are no lingering effects from the gas leak, but requested additional information about the site from the developers. The development company agreed to monitor groundwater and submit reports on a quarterly basis for two years to the agency. It is my understanding that they have failed to comply with that request.

In addition, since the development company did not comply with the original remedial action plan in 2008, the state DEP sent a notice of violation to the company. It is my understanding that the agency still expects the development company to demonstrate that groundwater is not contaminated. I have not received any additional information as to the progress of this compliance with the state DEP’s requests for updated groundwater data. Recently, the agency gave the development company a deadline of April 18, 2011 to submit plans and additional information regarding the environmental suitability of this site, and those requests were also ignored.

As you can see, I have significant concerns regarding the environmental safety of this new development, especially since there is a history of contamination at the site that resulted from a gas station that once operated outside the facility. The residents of this community deserve to be protected from potential dangers associated with this new construction and development plan.

Given all of these questions and concerns, I am requesting that the federal Environmental Protection Agency step in and review the development site located at Chelten and Pulaski avenues in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am also urging the EPA to carry out all enforcement and regulatory options at its disposal to protect the residents of this neighborhood.

It is my strong belief that construction should be stopped at this site until all questions and concerns have been answered, and the development company has complied with the requests of our state DEP, as well as any additional requirements levied by your agency.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

ROSITA C. YOUNGBLOOD Democratic Chairwoman Gaming Oversight Committee Pennsylvania House of Representatives 198th Legislative District

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