Closure of Philadelphia refinery, Hahnemann Hospital may affect larger city economy

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The possible loss of 1,000 Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery jobs, and 2,500 Hahnemann Hospital jobs has the city scrambling to find a fix.

Mayor Jim Kenney releases a statement saying in part, "We will immediately convene a group of City and quasi-governmental organizations to discuss the economic and employment impacts, and what the City is able to do in response."

Kenney says the focus now is on redistributing or saving jobs at the PES refinery, "We're worried about the workers and we are trying to figure out a plan for what to do with them. We have to figure out if they're really going to close it."

After last week's fire coupled with financial struggles, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant says its closing down. With it, will go jobs and much-needed resources.

AAA projects higher gas prices as a result of the PES refinery fire and closure.

"The closure of the PES refinery, the largest on the East Coast, will likely have an impact on gas prices in and around the region, though it is too early to know how much prices could increase, especially during the peak summer driving season, and for how long," said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic.

As for Hahnemann Hospital, the mayor says the threat of closure became apparent months ago. Adding that the company which owns Hahnemann, American Academic Health System has not been entirely transparent, "We've been figuring out different ways for the last 3 months about how we can make this work. He (the owner) has not been forthcoming with a lot of financial information to allow us to plan," said Kenney.

Dr. Curtis Gregory, an assistant professor of strategic management at Temple University, says the refinery and hospital closures may have a ripple effect on small business losses.

"A lot of times those don't make the news, a small business owner that may have had a significant relationship between the refinery or the hospital," said Dr. Gregory.
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