The Detroit City Council has passed a new air quality ordinance meant to limit dust and soot in neighborhoods near industrial areas. It regulates the storage and transportation of materials such as pet coke. That’s the byproduct of oil refining that has caused a lot of controversy here, especially in Southwest Detroit, where residents say they’re experiencing serious health problems from pollution produced by the Marathon Oil Refinery.
Marathon says the company is neutral on the ordinance, but stressed in a report in the Detroit Free Press that it has reduced emissions and is a small part of the overall emissions problem in southwest Detroit.
According to the Free Press:
Seven council members voted in favor of the ordinance. Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry from District 2 and Councilman Gabe Leland of District 7, voted no.
What are the environmental issues in that part of the city, and are they solvable with this ordinance or other potential measures?
“This is a unique Detroit issue because we have a lot of these facilities,” in a concentrated area, says Nick Leonard, staff attorney at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. “They tend to create highly localized hot-spots.”
To hear more from Leonard on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.