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Refinery's neighbors protest tar sands

Refinery's neighbors protest tar sands
Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio
Theresa Landrum lives near the Marathon oil refinery, seen in the background.

People who live near Detroit’s massive Marathon Oil refinery came out as part of a national protest against a proposed pipeline in the western U.S.

The Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline would transport heavy crude oil from Canada’s tar sands. That’s the same type of oil the Detroit plant is being retrofitted to be able to process.

Jackie Smith lives just a couple of blocks from the refinery. She says it’s not just people living near the proposed pipeline who should be worried.

"Crude oil from Canada is the dirtiest oil to refine. We do know this," said Smith. "And don’t be fooled by it, because pollution don’t have no boundaries, and it will finally come to your neighborhood."

Officials with Marathon say the refinery will continue to operate within allowable air pollution limits. The company says technology upgrades mean the plant will actually have fewer emissions when the expansion is complete than it did in 2004.

Contact Sarah Hulett at sarahhu@umich.edu

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Enterprise & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.