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Please begin with an informative title:

Just a totally harmless cloud of heavy metal-laden black dust, no problem at all

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

The large piles of petcoke that have been stored on the banks of the Detroit River delivered a little surprise to the residents of Windsor across the border last weekend in the form of a thick black cloud of dust kicked up by a storm.

Here's the video:


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

This isn't the first issue to come up about petcoke dust. Residents of Detroit are dealing with it every day.

The petcoke piles are, apparently being removed to another unnamed state:

Controversial piles of petroleum coke stored along the Detroit River may soon become a memory — for the time being, at least.

A spokesman for Koch Carbon, the owner of the pet coke, confirmed the piles are leaving Michigan for another, undisclosed state. Months of public outcry over the riverside piles, however, isn’t motivating the move.

“Koch Carbon has made a business decision to store purchases of petroleum coke from Marathon Petroleum at another port outside the state of Michigan,” Koch Carbon spokesman Paul Baltzer said in an e-mailed statement. “This decision was made to meet our shipment needs.” [...]

But a spokesman for the local company hosting the pet coke, Detroit Bulk Storage, indicated the removal of the piles “is temporary.”

In other words, expect more, especially since Marathon is completing a new facility in Detroit to process the tar sands waste product.

Members of the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (DCATS) recently protested a delivery of petcoke. According to Stephen Boyle (aka "Fuzzytek"), they simply found another place to deliver it:

When DCATS held a blockade of petcoke deliveries on June 24, 2013, Detroit Bulk Storage reacted by scouting out a dock to continue dumping petroleum coke being generated by Marathon Oil's delay coker in Detroit. That lead them to begin dumping in River Rouge at a smaller dock behind US Steel.

A couple DCATS members took a quick trip to the rumored location to verify what was present and captured some video along the way.

The storage practices shown clearly violate Michigan Department of Environmental Quality requirements. Detroit Bulk Storage is showing up as a repeat offender of illegal dumping of a petroleum byproduct.

Here's video his team took that shows water runoff onto a permeable surface, something that would allow leaching of toxic heavy metals and other constituents into the water table:

Fortunately, Democrats in Washington, D.C., including Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Gary Peters have introduced legislation to study the health effects of petcoke:
Michigan’s U.S. senators are pushing legislation to study the effects of petroleum coke on people’s health and the environment, motivated largely by a large pile of the refinery byproduct which at least until recently had been located beside the Detroit River.

U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both D-Mich., were joined by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in sponsoring the bill, which would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to research its health and environmental impacts, estimate future production and assess the best way to store and move it.

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.

Big Business apologist Henry Payne at the Detroit News claims that Congressman Peters is just using the giant cloud of petcoke dust to further his political career rather than to protect our citizens and those in Canada from potential harm from petcoke. He says Peters just wants to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline that claims will "create 20,000 middle -class jobs". This claim has been soundly debunked but that doesn't stop corporatists and Koch brothers water carriers like Payne from lying about it.

Here are the facts:

The State Department draft environmental review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline shows how TransCanada, the American Petroleum Institute and other proponents of the pipeline have been vastly overstating the number of jobs that will be created by this dirty energy project. This creates unfair expectations among workers who need jobs, not empty promises from the oil industry. The State Department, based on TransCanada’s own numbers, shows that at the most 3,900 construction jobs will be created in building the pipeline with only 10 percent of the total workforce hired locally. Only 35 permanent jobs will be created by the pipeline.
That Big Lie and more detailed HERE.

For Payne and other Big Oil shills like him, pollution and its impact on the health of our citizens and neighbors is a small price to pay for a paltry handful of jobs and, more importantly, big time profits for Koch Industries and other Big Oil concerns.

The only real question is whether Payne is actually paid by Koch Industries or the Mackinac Center for what he writes or if he just peddles their malignant corporatist, profits-at-any-cost message for them for free.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks and Michigan, My Michigan.

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