Friday, June 28, 2013

Occupy Detroit and others campaign against petcoke

I mentioned petroleum coke or petcoke for the first time in this blog's history in Air pollution from cars doesn't just come out of a tailpipe.
After all, how clean is coal, or for that matter, petroleum coke, which might be burned in combination at the DTE plant in Monroe?  Not very.
While I have been remiss on this subject, Occupy Detroit is still active and posted Petcoke & the Detroit river to their YouTube channel this week.*

Just a few hundred yards from the offensive piles of carcinogenic petcoke by the shores of the Detroit river, people are catching fish to feed to their children. The poisonous byproduct from the refining of Canadian tar sands gives off a windblown dust that goes everywhere, including the river and ultimately the fish these people will eat.
Not only are activists educating residents, they're protesting, as Michigan Radio reports in Citizen groups flex some muscle in fight against Detroit's petroleum coke piles.
But that hasn’t stopped a whole movement from springing up—and gaining some ground in the global fight against tar sands oil.

Just this week, a small group of protesters stopped a Mack truck carrying pet coke in its tracks, just a few hundred feet from its destination on the Detroit River—a place where freighters load up and ship out to places all over the world.

Standing in the middle of the street, McKenzie Duke read a list of demands from activists and residents. They’ve watched the pet coke piles grow and shift for months—at times, spanning a half-dozen city blocks and reaching several stories high.
As for that blockade Duke was a part of this week--well, the protesters succeeded in stopping pet coke shipments for the day. And they got some direct attention from Detroit Bulk Storage personnel, who’ve promised an ongoing dialogue about their concerns.
I've been more than a bit pessimistic about protesting against the XL Pipeline in general, although President Obama's statement on climate change this week was encouraging.  However, I'm all for protests against poor alignment of that pipeline, and specific health, environmental, and safety issues resulting from use of tar sands.  Improper storage of petcoke in Detroit is certainly one of those issues and I say more power to Occupy Detroit and the other activists, including U.S. Representative and Senate candidate Gary Peters, for bringing this subject to light.

The west side of the state also has their own set of activists against tar sands, and I'll post an entry about them later this afternoon or evening.

*Occupy Detroit has continued to do good work, including documenting the fast-food workers strike last month.  I'll be sure to cover that in a future entry.

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