Confronting Complexity with Regulatory Excellence: Recommendations in the Wake of the Philadelphia Refinery Explosion

8 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2020

See all articles by Cary Coglianese

Cary Coglianese

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: August 27, 2019

Abstract

Following the June 2019 explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, the city of Philadelphia now confronts major challenges associated with the future of the refinery site. Whether the site is reopened as a refinery or other chemical-processing operation, or redeveloped for other uses, the city will face challenges endemic to all kinds of public policy issues: complexity, uncertainty, dynamism, tradeoffs, and value choices. This testimony, delivered to the City of Philadelphia Refinery Advisory Group’s Environment Committee, offers three main suggestions to help guide Philadelphia officials in dealing with the future of the PES refinery site. First, city officials will need to coordinate with the private sector organizations with a direct financial stake in the site as well as the various state and federal government agencies with regulatory oversight responsibilities related to the site’s future. Second, city officials will also need to keep in close communication with labor groups, local businesses, nonprofit and community groups, and city residents — not merely listening to their concerns but demonstrating that they have been heard. Finally, officials will need to evince compassion in understanding what is at stake for all those who live and work in Philadelphia who are affected by the future of the refinery site. Overall, this testimony emphasizes that the challenges confronting Philadelphia officials are similar to those raised by other complex risk management scenarios — and that any regulator or other public official confronting such challenges should be guided by principles of regulatory excellence.

Keywords: regulators, regulation, government, environmental, health, safety, hazardous chemicals, high-hazard industries, market conditions, economic development patterns, redevelopment, regulated entities.

Suggested Citation

Coglianese, Cary, Confronting Complexity with Regulatory Excellence: Recommendations in the Wake of the Philadelphia Refinery Explosion (August 27, 2019). U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 20-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3540286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3540286

Cary Coglianese (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-6867 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/coglianese

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
23
Abstract Views
117
PlumX Metrics