That huge pile of petroleum coke lying alongside the Detroit River is triggering a growing sense of alarm.
You may recall, we spoke with New York Times journalist Ian Austen about the origins of this mountain of "pet coke" that's growing in Southwest Detroit. It's a byproduct of tar sands oil refining used in energy production. When mixed with coal, it can be used as a low-cost fuel.
The piles are being brought in by trucks from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit, and the pet coke is being stored by a company called Detroit Bulk Storage for the owner of the pet coke: Koch Carbon.
U.S. Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters and others have been voicing concern about the health and environmental risks of storing these piles of pet coke. We wanted to take a closer look at these concerns.
Nick Schroeck is a professor of law at Wayne State University in Detroit and the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.
Listen to the full interview above.