Chester was looking for the site of a large LNG export terminal – Low Calorie Diets Tips

In a February 2021 email to Doweary, James said he had met with Gov. Tom Wolf and other members of his administration.

“…We have been fortunate to meet on numerous occasions with Governor Tom Wolf, Secretary Dennis Davin, Denise Brinley and key members of DCED to disclose the proposal to develop, permit and construct the project in Pennsylvania, particularly the City of Chester and to discuss,” James wrote in the email.

In a statement to WHYY News, a spokesperson for Wolf said that beginning in 2016, the administration was involved in discussions with Penn America to get an overview of plans, as it would be with any number of projects.

“Management had a special meeting with the company once in 2016,” Wolf spokeswoman Elizabeth Rementer said in a statement. “While the staff involved in these discussions have left administration, based on our review it does not appear that administration has ever requested or pledged support for the project, which is still in the development phase.”

Neither Davin nor Brinley responded to a request for comment from WHYY News. Both left the Wolf administration for the private sector. A DCED spokesman told WHYY News that Acting Secretary Neil Weaver was not aware of any plans for a facility.

James also discussed in emails to Doweary starting a charitable organization which he said would benefit Chester residents.

“I would also like to disclose the mission of the Penn America Foundation 501(c)(3), a public charity founded and dedicated solely to advancing the City of Chester’s educational programs, developing and mentoring local entrepreneurship and economic development and initiatives focused on Chester’s energy insecurity and environmental challenges,” James wrote.

To date, the Penn America Foundation has not engaged in any significant charitable activity.

James refers in emails to a “Chester team” that includes John Linder, the former mayor of Chester, who served from 2012 to 2016, James Turner, the city’s former director of economic development, and Travis Thomas , the city’s former fire commissioner. Current Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland did not respond to a request for comment on the proposal.

A handful of individuals and organizations currently and formerly associated with Penn America LNG have given a total of $5,000 to Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland’s campaigns since 2018. The donations came from former President Cedric Burgher, former Vice President Christopher Bellah and current Penn America Chief Development Officer Howard Candelet, and current Vice President Konstantin Dimitropoulos.

Penn America Energy lobbyist Malady & Wooten donated $1,000 to Kirkland’s campaign in May 2021.

The ‘Chester team’ member wants the city to benefit from LNG, environmentalists have a different view of the future

Former Mayor Linder, a member of the “Chester team,” recalls meeting with Penn America LNG near the end of his term in 2016. He is now the chief executive officer of a nonprofit he founded, Riverside Futures Regional Community Development Corporation, an organization he says is solely dedicated to promoting opportunities for community members to benefit from the proposed LNG facility.

On April 5, 2021, a few days after Doweary met with Penn America officials, Linder emailed Doweary. It included a letter Riverside Futures sent to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission advocating LNG opportunities in Chester and Philadelphia.

Linder and his cousin Garland Thompson, a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and executive vice president of Riverside Futures, have claimed that a new LNG plant would be a boon to Chester’s local economy and create jobs. In a blog post and a letter to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the pair wrote that opportunities would arise from the “exploitation of the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Pennsylvania.”

Former Chester Mayor John Linder (left) and Garland Thompson believe Riverside Futures is key to boosting Chester’s local economy and creating new jobs. (Kenny Cooper/WHY)

“To get there, Philadelphia area local leaders must begin to demonstrate the political courage to tell region residents on both sides of the Delaware the practical truth about why natural gas-fired energy, for all its flaws, really is the fuel for future progress – sincere claims made by some activist groups about the world-saving ability of so-called clean energy programs to spur future economic growth of this region and nation,” the letter reads.

Although the letter states that “climate change is happening,” they target environmental groups such as the Clean Air Council, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Penn Future and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and “Delaware Valley Media Workers.” the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board for attempting to “keep gas reserves in the ground.”

“It is long past time for leaders of the Philadelphia area to recognize the real opportunities that await a city and region that could and should serve as the most convenient and economical port for exporting Shale Crescent LNG, if the best.” Fields produce This gas is located less than 200 miles northwest in the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania and produces cargoes that should have been routed from Philadelphia, rather than Corpus Christi, to North Atlantic and West African ports,” the letter reads.

Linder and Gardner say Penn America LNG will not pay them. Garland would like Riverside Futures to lead an LNG vocational training program.

Former Chester Mayor John Linder stands next to Garland Thompson in front of a gray brick building.
Former Chester Mayor John Linder (left) and Garland Thompson both say they were researching liquefied natural gas before Penn America reached out. (Kenny Cooper/WHY)

“These jobs bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece for an apprenticeship or a two-year community college degree. Many, many people in Chester could make that kind of money and live a beautiful lifestyle,” Garland said.

Ultimately, Linder said community leaders like CRCQL’s Mayfield are right: Chester has an environmental racism problem. But he says Mayfield is the one who is uninformed.

“It’s good to have people who are on point. [Mayfield] is always to the point. But in this case we need to educate ourselves and I’m willing to sit down with them,” Linder said.

Garland emphasized that there is “no simple answer to environmental problems”.

CRCQL’s Mayfield says all of this reflects a “good old boy system” that operates at the expense of residents.

“These are politicians,” she said. “We are residents. You are not a scientist. They are so ignorant of these types of processes. They don’t educate themselves to know what the process is, the harm it can cause, the benefits and the risks,” Mayfield said.

Maya van Rossum of the Delaware Riverkeeper was also unaware of the project before reporters contacted her. She called Linder’s claims that natural gas is the “fossil fuel of the future” a false climate solution. “You can’t make fracking safe,” she said. “There is no way for LNG exports to be part of the climate solution.”

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is actively fighting the proposed Wyalusing LNG liquefaction facility and associated export terminal across the river in Gibbstown, NJ. Van Rossum worries that once the Delaware River is sanctioned by federal authorities, the industry will want to use the Delaware River like the Gulf Coast and build LNG export facilities along its banks as a fast route to Europe.

“That’s what we see all the time in Pennsylvania when it comes to the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “They go behind closed doors and make secret deals at the local and state level and it’s a try before people even know about it. And Penn America should be concerned about opposition from Delaware Riverkeeper because we will be proactive in opposing this project.”

Leave a Comment