Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is urging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to deny a permit that would allow for an expansion of the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery. Marathon wants to use equipment that removes sulfur from gasoline, but increases sulfur dioxide pollution by 22 tons per year. Duggan says the company cannot improve fuel quality standards in the rest of the state at the cost of the lives of the residents living nearby.
“If the permit is approved, I will promise you, we will be in federal court. You cannot raise the pollutant levels on the poor area of the city that’s the most polluted to benefit everybody else. I believe that’s a civil rights violation, I hope the MDEQ will act and turn down this permit without these conditions, and if we have to go to court, Madame President, I hope City Council will be with us.”
Mayor Mike Duggan
Duggan says the area surrounding the Marathon refinery is the only place in Michigan currently above federal air quality standards for sulfur dioxide. He says asthma rates in the area are 50 percent higher than the state average.