Detroit Refinery, Owned By Marathon, Reveals Another Aspect Of The ‘Tar Sands Oil’ Debate
The controversy over the oil & gas price Keystone XL Pipeline has bubbled up again, with the Environmental Protection Company (EPA) calling the State Department’s environmental influence analysis of the proposed project “inadequate.” However considerations concerning the so-called “tar sands” heavy crude oil it would carry aren’t restricted to the pipeline’s proposed route from Alberta, Canada to Texas.
On April 20, protesters gathered within the central Michigan metropolis of Marshall, the place a pipeline owned by a company referred to as Enbridge spilled 800,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The demonstrators came from as far as Detroit to oppose “tar sand oil” and to demand a cleanup of the river.
It isn’t stunning Detroiters can be among the crowd. The Motor City is now a serious vacation spot for that particular kind of petroleum, resulting from a recent $2.2 billion enlargement of a Marathon Oil refinery that allows the power to process extra heavy crude oil from tar sands.
While the enhancement has created an estimated 135 jobs, it’s also elevated the capacity of the company’s Detroit facility from about 106,000 barrels-per-day to one hundred twenty,000 — a lot to the chagrin of local environmentalists. After listening to about the undertaking, Theresa Landrum, an environmental justice activist who lives near the power, researched the anticipated emissions and was disturbed.
“We discovered terrible things. Carcinogens, carbon monoxide, benzene and toluene, which hurt the nervous system, methyl ethyl ketone, which could cause blindness. Loads of really unhealthy stuff,” she said in a Sierra Club release.
Marathon has taken measures to control the plant’s air quality. In April 2012, it agreed to a settlement with the EPA and the U.S. Division of Justice to install state-of-the-art controls on combustion gadgets generally known as flares and to cap the volume of waste gasoline at its refineries.
The corporate touts the Detroit facility’s environmental stewardship on its web site, noting that it’s the primary in the world to obtain a Accountable Care 14001 certification for its health, environment, security and security techniques from the American Chemical Council. It is also been honored with an award for workplace security and health excellence by the Michigan Occupational Security and Well being Administration.
But Marathon’s oil & gas price practices are nonetheless not with oil & gas price out controversy. The company has bought up houses in the low-income neighborhood surrounding the plant in an effort to alleviate issues and create a buffer zone. It is located in an area designated by a 2010 College of Michigan study as Michigan’s most polluted zip code (48217).
Final September, Marathon was cited with a nuisance violation by the DEQ after residents complained of an “overpowering odor,” in response to Mother Jones.
Extra not too long ago, residents have been involved about enormous black piles appearing alongside the Detroit River. They’re made up of a fabric known as petroleum coke, or petcoke, that originates from the Marathon facility and is being sold to an organization known as Koch Minerals LLC.
Marathon stated that since they do not personal both the petcoke or the property where the mounds of the petcoke had been dumped, they don’t seem to be accountable for transferring it.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) carried out tests on the petcoke, following issues expressed by U.S. Reps. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) and John Conyers (D-Detroit), however found them not to be hazardous.
Not happy with these outcomes, State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) collected samples for impartial testing last month and is now waiting on the results. She’s also involved concerning the potential for polluted stormwater to circulate into the Detroit River, though DEQ Water Sources Division spokesman Andrew Hartz told the Detroit Information last week that the piles are being managed to stop that sort of runoff.