TRENTON – Sunoco responded to state lawmakers’ announcement Wednesday that they will introduce legislation to prevent the company from walking away from a shuttered refinery in West Deptford without remediating the property.
Southern N.J. lawmakers, led by Senate President Steve Sweeney, railed against Sunoco, whose Eagle Point Refinery in Gloucester County is largely silent these days.
Sweeney referred to Sunoco as corporate pirates who are trying to win millions of dollars in tax appeals, walk away from this facility without cleaning up any contamination, and leave it unoccupied rather than sell it to another company.
But Thomas Golembeski, spokesman for Sunoco Inc. and Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., which runs the site these days, took issue with the state legislators.
“It is a shame Senator Sweeney didn’t talk to us about this first – we gladly would have explained where things stand and what we’re doing,” Golembeski said in an emailed response to the press conference held by Sweeney and others. “Eagle Point may not be a working refinery any longer, but it’s still an important part of our business,” Golembeski said.
“It’s an operating – and growing – fuel terminal that we continue to invest in. Right now, there are nearly 200 people (employees and contractors) working to upgrade the infrastructure so it can be a world-class terminal where we can store and supply fuel to the East Coast.
“We’re installing new pipes, expanding docks, upgrading our ability to unload rail cars, and expanding storage.”
Golembeski said that contrary to lawmakers’ allegations that Sunoco is seeking to avoid cleanup, “Any remediation work that needs to be done, we’ll do. We have been working closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to assess the site and develop a remediation plan. That effort has been under way for some time – long before today’s press conference.”
In regards to the tax appeals, Golembeski said in his statement that, “Given the litigation involved, I cannot comment on the property tax dispute. I can only say that we’ve been trying to resolve the tax issue for years and continue to work toward a resolution.”