Growing petroleum coke piles along Detroit's west riverfront draw criticism from residents and officials on both sides of the border, but not everyone thinks they're an unsightly potential health risk.
Henry Payne, editorial page cartoonist and columnist at The Detroit News sees the slag stacks as a job-creating opportunity "bringing life to Detroit’s abandoned, industrial waterfront."
An oil sands byproduct, petroleum coke, has brought more business to the city’s waterfront. An industrial center in the Motor City’s heyday, the Detroit River today is pocked with empty buildings and weed-choked loading platforms. In a neat twist, the coal-like, so-called “pet coke” is being sold back to Canada (among other countries) by energy giant Koch Carbon . . . adding millions to America’s trade balance sheet.
Payne blasts three local Democratic officeholders "and environmentalists who are waging war on oil, coal, and working-class jobs in pursuit of their green Utopia." His case:
Congressmen Gary Peters and John Conyers and state Rep. Rashida Tlaib have denounced Marathon and Koch for the mounds of pet coke storage. Congress needs to act against the material to protect “families and natural resources like the Great Lakes from the threat of contamination,” raged Peters from the House floor.
This is pure demagoguery. Pet coke has long been used in electricity and steel production. It is a nontoxic material that poses no threat under American clean air and water laws.