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Environment & Climate Change

Storage of Detroit's controversial pet coke piles put on pause

coke_piles.jpg
Sarah Cwiek
/
Michigan Radio

Detroit Bulk Storage, a company that has faced criticism for piling up petroleum coke along the Detroit River, has stopped shipments of pet coke.

Tom Greenwood of The Detroit News reports that the company said it was a “business decision”:
 

 

“Detroit Bulk Storage also announced that it expects the dwindling piles of the fuel, which is similar to coal, to be depleted by the end of August. ‘We stopped accepting pet coke shipments a few weeks ago,’ said Detroit Bulk Storage spokesman Daniel Cherrin on Tuesday. ‘It was a business decision. The piles of pet coke have been getting small once the shipping lanes reopened, and we began loading it onto boats.’ ”

A byproduct of refining tar sands oil, Detroit’s piled-up pet coke has been criticized by environmentalists and nearby residents, who argue that the dust coming from the piles are impacting their health and neighborhoods. Late last month, anti-pet coke activists blocked a fleet of trucks carrying the substance from entering loading docks where pet coke had been previously stored.

But as Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reported, officials dispute the activists’ claims of pet coke’s apparent danger:

 

“The Environmental Protection Agency treats pet coke as a commodity. It can be burned as a low-grade alternative to coal, or used in some industrial processes. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has no specific process to regulate it.”

Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton will have more on the pet coke piles this afternoon.

 

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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