Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Conyers Hails Mayor Bing’s Order to Remove “Pet Coke” from Detroit River

(DETROIT) – Yesterday evening, Detroit Mayor David Bing ordered that the petroleum coke piles stored alongside the Detroit River be removed by Tuesday, August 27. After this announcement, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
"I am heartened that Mayor Bing has ordered the removal of petroleum coke, better known as ‘pet coke,’ from the Detroit riverfront.  This order is critical to protecting the quality of Detroit’s air and water from this public nuisance.  However, until a final resolution is achieved, I will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the elimination of these polluting piles,” said Conyers.

“Over the past few months, it is become clear that an order by Mayor Bing might be necessary to properly address this problem, due to the lack of engagement or concern on behalf of the polluting parties in this case.  My engagement with this issue began in early Spring, shortly after these piles appeared.  On March 12, 2013, Congressman Peters and I wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) asking for their review of the problem.  We were unsatisfied with their response, and so we wrote them again on May 21, 2013 asking for assurances regarding the adequacy of protections for Detroit’s residents, air, and water.  While MDEQ responded with more specific reasons to believe there was not a problem, subsequent facts made clear that wasn’t the case - the most glaring example being the massive pet coke dust cloud which was filmed forming over Detroit.  Throughout this months-long process, the parties involved in storing and shipping this potentially dangerous material acted without consideration or concern for the community.

“Mayor Bing’s order to withdraw the pet coke, seems necessary in light of the disrespect and disregard Detroiters have been shown by those who control the ‘pet coke’ piles.  I am also glad to see that he ordered the piles to be properly stored and covered with a tarp, which is what I and several local officials have been supporting from the beginning.  I would like to thank Mayor Bing for taking this step to protect our home.  I would also like to thank those who have worked with me on this issue, Representative Peters, other members of the Michigan delegation, local officials, state representatives, and state, national, and Canadian advocates for clean air and water who have been critical to addressing this issue. Because of their work, all of us who make Detroit our home can breathe a little easier.”

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