The refinery is located by a tidal section of the Schuylkill and is vulnerable to sea level rise. By 2050, it is expected that Philadelphia area waters could rise by 19 inches and in 2100, by 4 feet. These estimates would put 2,000 homes and 3,200 Philadelphians at risk. South Philadelphia is particularly at risk for sea level rise. Oil refineries across the country are especially vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise as they were frequently built on low-lying coastal areas. Residents are already experiencing the impacts of local climate change.
In February 2020, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of PES to Chicago-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners. Hilco’s bid was $252 million and they plan to use the space as a mixed-use industrial park, ending the use of this space as a refinery. Now that the property has been sold, there are concerns about remediation and underground contamination. Residents shared their ideas of what the refinery complex should become prior to the official sale to Hilco. Their designs ranged from a cemetery, to a park, and a road leading to the airport.