Massive police presence at Refinery Title V permit hearing on June 4 2013
The historic town of Delaware City, with fewer than 1700 residents, was subjected to an overwhelming and intimidating level of police presence due to the State of Delaware’s decision to hold PBF Energy's Delaware City Refinery’s Title V permit hearing at the Delaware City Fire Hall.
Though state officials had learned in advance that the Refinery was sending 10 bus loads of workers to the hearing, and the turnout was anticipated to be 2000 people, the State decided to move the hearing location to the Fire Hall just days before the hearing, which only had seating for 200 persons.
Police presence in the town and at the hearing was overwhelming. Mounted police and an LRAD (Long-Range Acoustic Device) were among the armaments brought into town.
LRAD at Refinery Hearing
The News Journal reported that State officials were concerned about the large presence of refinery workers at the hearing, who had thrown their shoes at the steps of Legislative Hall in a rally to protest the closing of the refinery in 2010.
The town of Delaware City has also had the unfortunate experience of PBF Energy officially naming the Refinery after the town: the Delaware City Refinery. The Refinery lies outside of town limits, yet has chosen to adopt the identify with the town.
The Sierra Club is very grateful for the accommodations that the town of Delaware City and its residents made for the hearing. We understand that the hearing was very disruptive to normal activities for residents, and the number of police and cars could have been upsetting.
The State is required to hold hearings in a location big enough for all those expected to show up, and after learning that the refinery was sending 10 bus loads of workers, they chose the Fire Hall. They should have taken better care to choose a bigger location.
Delaware City is better known for stunning wetlands that attract bird watchers nationwide, remarkable views of the Delaware River, interesting local shops and restaurants, and historic homes that are over one hundred years old. This is a beautiful and bright community of caring residents that have had to endure the spectacular theatrics of the hearing.