Saturday September 30, 2017
11 AM - 1:00 PM:
Pennsylvania community members and faith leaders gathered on a tour of Superfund Sites in northwest of Philadelphia. Deacon Sergei Kapral from the Orthodox Church in America and Reverend Louis Tillman from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church joined our tour and prayers. Additionally, we welcomed James D. Snook, the Vice President of PennJersey Environmental Consulting, a professional who is responsible for toxic site remediation.
We began our tour at a park located a couple of blocks away from the first toxic site. As we gathered at the park there were several kids playing catch and in the playground. We discussed the background behind the superfund sites and how environmental issues are interconnected with faith. The park, where children were playing and homes were located was approximately 10 minutes away from the first Superfund Site.
Our first visit was to the Stanley Kessler Superfund Site, there we did not see any signs stating that the work site was an EPA Superfund site. The Weld Wire Company Inc. sits exactly on this site and there were two neighboring businesses. Mr. Snook mentioned that businesses should have EPA Superfund Site disclaimers, and places that do not have signs might be trying to hide the fact because they do not want to alarm workers and those who visit the site. Afterwards, we drove to the street behind the site and went to a local bakery that relies on local water to make its bread. The manager shared: “When I bought the land, I knew it was a dump.”
Next, we visited the Crater Resources, Inc./Keystone Coke Co./Alan Wood Steel Co. Superfund site. We stood in the parking lot of a commercial area and reflected on both sites.
James explained that the site was in better condition than the last because previous owners mostly cleaned up the space and put cement over it. Although the site appeared fine, the businesses in that area could not use the water supply in the area because it is still contaminated.
This reflects the reality of many Superfund sites that may appear fine on the outside yet are still listed under the EPA’s superfund sites and affecting the health of community members.
Finally, we prayed and continued our reflection on the second site. Reverend Tillman blessed the site and the food for our Love Feast. We honored God’s creation and prayed for the urgent recovery of these sites because God’s Creation, our earth, has been harmed. Likewise human health has suffered as a consequence of environmental injustices such as Superfund Sites.
Community members and faith leaders at the Crater Resources, Inc./Keystone Coke Co./Alan Wood Steel Co. Superfund site.
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.