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Michigan denies Detroit oil byproduct storage

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm •  Published: July 17, 2014

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A company cannot store piles of petroleum coke at an open riverfront site in Detroit because it does not have adequate measures in place to control dust, a Michigan state agency said Thursday.

Detroit Bulk Storage did not go far enough to prevent air pollution, said Lynn Fiedler, chief of the air division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

"In order for the bulk storage and handling of petroleum coke to be considered for this location, at a minimum, an enclosure or similar containment measure is necessary, as well as further control of fugitive emissions during petroleum coke handling," Fiedler said in a letter to the company.

Detroit Bulk Storage respects the decision, attorney and spokeswoman Teri Whitehead said, adding, "At this stage, we are going to review all our options with regard to the storage of petroleum coke."

Petroleum coke is a byproduct of oil refining and is burned as fuel in cement kilns and power plants. Increasing volumes of the byproduct are being generated as refineries process more oil from Canadian tar sands.

Detroit's mayor ordered the company to remove massive piles of the black, grainy waste product from a site along the Detroit River near the Ambassador Bridge last year after many residents complained of an air and water pollution risk. The piles were from Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s refining exports from oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta.

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