Detroit has a substantial history of leading our country in various endeavors. The work ethic of its inhabitants combined to produce tanks and airplanes, among others, that led to a great victory over fascism in World War II. The factories of Detroit for years upon end led the world in automobile production. More recently, the city has led the country in murder rates and has developed an ill-founded perception among the American public that it is a wasteland of boarded up houses and defunct industrial buildings long abandoned by corporations who moved to non-union states in the south. This is only partially true. Detroit is now leading the way in the accumulation of massive amounts of petroleum coke residue. The beautiful Detroit waterfront now has an exciting new tourist attraction; a three-story high block-long pile of coal-black residue which began accumulating only last November when the Koch brothers-controlled Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit started processing 28,000 barrels a day of oil sands by-product. As reported in the New York Times, Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth.” However, while Detroit is the first U.S. city to lead the way in this massive accumulation of “the dirtiest residue,” it will not be the last. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, will bring more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here, there and everywhere. The old saying to “be careful about what you ask for” seems to be a great fit for this newly emerging process.
Just saying . . .