Killer Karbon Petcoke Pile Looms Over Motown
May 30, 2013
If you think its all about Keystone, think again. Alberta Tar Sands are already being processed in the Great Lakes region, and efforts are gathering to increase the flow exponentially, with an Enbridge pipeline as larger or larger than Keystone.
WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.
Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.
And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.
The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.
The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.
“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oilproduction is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, some 2,000 miles away.
DETROIT, MI – The black petroleum coke piles that have been growing larger along the Detroit River on the city’s Southwest side have drawn concern from local residents and Canadians alike, many of whom are worried about the oil sands byproduct’s environmental impact, not to mention the eyesore. According to an article in the New York Times, the piles are the result of Canada exporting more oil sands byproducts to the United States – a practice it plans to increase.
Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposedKeystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.
Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.
Residents on both sides of the Detroit River are concerned that the coke mountain is both an environmental threat and an eyesore.
“Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”