Detroit Refinery Grows, Adds More Canadian Crude, Brings More Worries

"DETROIT -- In an economically distressed pocket of southwest Detroit known by its ZIP code -- 48217 -- the weekend of September 7-9 was one of the worst, pollution-wise, residents like Theresa Shaw could remember."

"'I started smelling it on Thursday,' said Shaw, who immediately suspected the Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery a half-mile from her house. 'I kept the windows closed because I couldn’t breathe. On Friday, I thought, ‘What the heck are they doing?’ My eyes were just burning, my throat was hurting, my stomach was hurting. I was having migraine headaches.

'The smell, it was like this burning tar, with that benzene and that sulfur. I wanted to scream.'

Shaw retreated to her sister’s house on the north side of town. Responding to citizen complaints, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality traced the powerful odor to Marathon, which had been cleaning several large vessels, and wrote up the company for a nuisance violation."

Jim Morris and Chris Hamby report for the Center for Public Integrity October 31, 2012.

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 10/31/2012