EMEAC celebrates women and people of color in leadership at community event

May 28, 2013

Originally posted at The Michigan Citizen

Co-Directors Dr. Ife Kilimanjaro and Diana Copeland (background)

East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) celebrated women and people of color in leadership positions May 10 by hosting a community wine and cheese tasting.

Featuring locally made wines and cheeses donated by local businesses, the night’s activities showcased the past and present work of EMEAC and its community. Co-director Diana Copeland began the night by demonstrating the importance of remembering and centering the communities on the “front lines” of environmental and ecological injustice.
“As part of our organization, we have a memory of where we came from and a duty to amplify the voice of the ignored, marginalized and the beaten down — that the story of place comes from those living in the front lines of environmental and ecological warfare,” Copeland told those who attended the event.
“There are many such communities in Detroit. They are called frontline communities because even though climate change will affect the entire planet, these communities are most vulnerable and bear the biggest health and quality of life burdens for the energy and industry that we all use.”
Dr. Ife Kilimanjaro was introduced as the new co-director of EMEAC. Killimanjaro will be sharing leadership responsibilities with Copeland, who has been the director of the organization since 2006.
Kilimanjaro’s acceptance speech continued the night’s theme on the importance of centralizing traditionally marginalized communities in environmental justice work.
“Tonight we honor and celebrate leadership of women and people of color in the progressive march of history,” she said. “(These) populations (are) often valued in words but in practice, continue to face barriers to a variety of institutions, fields of study and careers; populations that are disproportionately and increasingly unable to meet basic needs and subject to the harmful impacts of ecological injustices and climate change; populations that are systematically kept out of positions of power where decisive decisions are made; and populations that often carry out added responsibility of caring emotionally, psychologically and physically for others. We celebrate women and people of color as leaders.”
Throughout the night, local wine and cheese was served to guests. Wine samples were donated by Detroit businesses The Bronx Bar and Traffic Jam and Snug. Specialty cheeses from Farm County Cheese House, located in Lakeview, Mich., made up the assortment of cheeses available for sampling.
The event also included an enactment of EMEAC’s extensive 40 year history of organizing in Detroit, followed by a presentation on the history of “The Commons,” or the set of three buildings and the community that now make up what is formerly known as the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit.
The event also kicked off the two-month long effort by EMEAC to raise $10,000 to renovate the windows of The Commons buildings. Replacing and restoring the decades old windows would allow for a cost savings for EMEAC. As Copeland stated, “This window campaign seems like a fitting way to launch our new vision! This will save tremendous energy. Many of the windows are cracked or the window seals and trim are rotted through. It will be an uplifting accomplishment for EMEAC and beautiful improvement for these historic buildings.”
EMEAC’s board and staff have committed to raising funds through their own individual online fundraising pages at www.firstgiving.com/emeac
East Michigan Environmental Action Council began as a response in the 1960s to environmental concerns in southeast Michigan. EMEAC’s mission is to empower the Detroit community to protect, preserve and value the land, air and water.
For more information about EMEAC programs and events, contact EMEAC media director Lottie Spady at lottie@emeac.org or 313.556.1702 Ext 701.

Pet Coke News & Resources

May 23, 2013

3-story piles of pet coke
It has been several months that piles of petroleum coke have been growing on the shores of the Detroit River in Southwest Detroit. Illegally dumped, these piles are hazardous to the health of the environment, humans, plants and animals, and to the ecological system as a whole. We've created this page to provide information resources and news updates about this toxic waste product of the oil refining process. Many thanks to Eric Kirkendall of the Moving Forward Network for identifying many of these key resources. 

The pile is now owned by Koch Carbon, a company of the notorious Koch brothers.

Continuing Saga of Pet Coke 

Pet coke on Detroit River protested by Windsor residents (2/10/14). Concerned Windsor residents express their opposition to the request by Detroit Bulk Storage to appeal a storage ban.  Posted 2/10/14.

Possible return of petcoke piles protested (2/9/14).  Protesters are invited to express their concerns about the Detroit Bulk Storage hearing. It's not just a city decision, "it's an international decision," says one activist. Posted 2/10/14.

Proposed port permit brings questions from community, national activists (2/6/14). Coal companies are turning to Texas to export coal since their efforts have been unsuccessful in the Pacific North West. Posted 2/7/14.

Residents, groups worry about possible return of petcoke to riverfront (2/5/14) Detroit Bulk Storage is seeking a permit for height variance for materials stored on its property. Posted 2/6/14.

Illinois seeks to regulate 'petcoke' piles (1/15/14). A video by Al Jazeera America that reports on the opposition on the community level and actions by state officials. Here are links to similar articles: State plans to file emergency rules for 'petcoke',  Illinois Gov. Quinn Seeks Statewide Petcoke LimitsGovernor Quinn Announces Emergency Rules to ... - State of Illinois Posted 1/17/14.

Residents: Southeast side not petcoke dumping ground (1/15/14). SE Chicago residents continue their struggle to have petcoke piles removed from their neighborhoods. Posted 1/17/14.

Ill Gov seeks statewide petcoke restrictions (1/14/14). Illinois Gov. Quinn made a move to require petcoke storage companies to fully enclose the dust piles. Posted 1/17/14.

Import of petroleum coke allowed by road from India (1/9/2014). Not only does India allow the importation of petcoke by rail and sea, but now by roadways. Posted 1/10/14.

Southeast side residents sue company over petcoke storage (11/25/13). A group of residents file a class-action lawsuit against British Petroleum. Posted 12/2/13.

"Petcoke" piling up in Midwest, raising residents' ire as refineries handle more Canadian oil (11/25/13). This petroleum byproduct contributes to poor health of people and the environment and is being dumped in communities of color and poor/working communities throughout the midwest. Posted 12/2/13.

Environmentalists see a disaster in waiting (11/12/13). "Louisiana illegally granted a construction permit for a coal and petroleum coke plant next to a wetlands restoration project on the Mississippi." Posted 11/13/13.

Wean U.S. off petroleum for next generation (11/4/13). "The Keystone XL shale oil project would produce exponentially more pet coke while its exaction destroys Canada's environment." Posted 11/4/13.

Get mountains of pollution under control (11/3/13). A call to keep the heat on the EPA and government to follow through on addressing the environmental injustice surrounding the petcoke pileups in Chicago. Posted 11/4/13.

Environmental groups, residents challenge Plaquemines coal terminal permit in state court (10/31/13).  Several Louisiana environmental groups and several Plaquemines residents are working together to oppose a permit given by the Department of Natural Resources to build a new coal and petroleum coke terminal in Myrtle Grove (New Orleans). Posted 11/3/13.

Illinois EPA cracks down on owner of southeast side petcoke site (10/30/13). The state EPA accuses Beemsterboer Slag Corp. of several violations, including violating air pollution limits while handling petcoke. Posted 11/3/13.

S. Side residents sue, say oil refinery waste blankets homes (10/31/13). Article reports that 4 homeowners near the Calumet River filed a class action lawsuit against the owners and operators of 3 terminals that are piling the piles of petcoke. Posted 11/3/13.

State EPA files complaint against southeast side waste handler (10/30/13). The State EPA takes action against polluter Beemsterboer Slag Corp for violating air pollution limits in its handling of petcoke. Posted 10/30/13.

Congresswoman Kelly seeks solutions to 'Pet Coke' mountains (10/29/13). Illinois Representative is now raising concerns about the rising petcoke mounds in Chicago's 10th Ward. Posted 10/30/13. Here is another article - Kelly co-sponsors 'pet coke' bill.

Pet coke expands, and pollutes everywhere (10/22/13).  At multiple places where tar sands crude is being processed, pet coke piles are growing. Posted 10/22/13.

After sparking outrage in Detroit, Koch Brothers' tar sands waste now piling up in Chicago (10/16/13). The Calumet River is now a dumping ground for this polluting dust.  Here are additional article about petcoke piling up in Chicago. BP to store more 'petroleum coke' on Chicago's south east sideBP oil byproduct coating cars, homes, east side residents complainPhotos: petroleum coke and the BP Whiting refinery, Petroleum coke arrives in Chicago, Petroleum coke: the pollution doesn't stop at the refinery, BP oil refinery waste piles up on the southeast side,

Final destination for refinery waste a secret (9/4/13). We hear that the piles are going to Ohio, but no one is saying where. Posted 9/13/13.

Ohio might be home for refinery byproduct (9/3/13). Ohio may be the new home, but the Ohio EPA hadn't been officially notified or informed as of early September. Posted 9/13/13.



Pet coke - #4 In "Toxic ingredients used by the fossil fuel industries" Series. Part of a 10-part series on this issue. Posted 12/5/13.

Clarity existing petcoke in Ecorse not River Rouge (9/9/13). Detroit activist Stephen Boyle reports out on a presentation he made at River Rouge Appreciation Day held August 30-31. Posted 9/12/13.

Detroit mayor sets deadline for pet coke removal (9/3/13). Detroit Bulk Storage was given a deadline of August 27th to remove the piles. Posted 9/13/13.

Ohio might be home for refinery byproduct (9/1/13). Journalist Dierdre Shesgreen Gannett reports that Koch Carbon announced it would ship the coke pile from Detroit's riverbanks to Ohio. The Ohio EPA is concerned. Posted 9/3/13.

Detroit petroleum waste pile disappears - but to where? (8/29/13). The petroleum byproduct is no longer piling up on Detroit's riverbanks, but where in Ohio is it going? The Ohio EPA hasn't been notified of any shipment, stated an agency spokesperson. Posted 9/3/13.

Pet coke piles along the Detroit River cleared away (8/27/13). Finally! Posted 8/28/13.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing did the right thing about petroleum coke piles (8/15/13). A news article that pats Mayor Bing's back for being the first to take decisive action against the coke piles. However we know that it took community push back and protest, coupled with opposition by State Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Gary Peters to get it on his rader. Poated 8/16/13.

Let it rip: Petroleum coke, parents not vaccinating kids (8/15/13). A Fox 2 panel discussion that includes Nick Schroeck from the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. Posted 8/16/13.

Detroit Mayor Bing says petcoke piles must go by Aug. 27 (8/13/13). (The news article's title speaks for itself). Here is another article reporting this same issue: Detroit Mayor David Bing urges removal of petcoke piles. Posted 8/16/13.

Detroit protesters block entrance for petroleum coke deliveries (6/27/13). Citizens concerned about the dumping of petcoke on Detroit riverbanks blocked entrance to the docks where petcoke is stored. Posted 7/30/13.

Petcoke site operator halts shipments (7/20/13). News article reports that Detroit Bulk Storage has stopped trucking in petcoke for storage on the Detroit River. Posted 7/21/13.

The dirtiest of the dirty fuels (7/9/13). Aaron Petkov, for Socialistworker.org writes that petroleum coke is another way that Canada's tar sands oil contributes to poisoning the earth as a whole and Detroit in particular. Posted 7/12/13.

Taking a stand: protesters block petcoke dumping (6/26/13). News report about the human blockade that kept trucks from dumping loads of pet coke at a site adjacent to the Detroit River. Posted 6/26/13.

Pet coke piles shrink as storage company awaits permit (6/26/13). An article with video that reports a claim by the company storing piles of pet coke that it didn't know a permit was needed to dump the waste byproduct in the open air. Posted 6/26/13.

Detroit residents protest petroleum coke dumping (6/25/13).

Asked and answered: Nick Schroeck on petroleum coke (6/25/13). Transcript of an interview with Nick Schroeck, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center during Rep. Gary Peter's press conference May 28, 2013. Posted 6/26/13.

Some of the Issues (6/24/13). A video of Detroit activist Stephen Boyle (aka Fuzzytek)  speaking with WDIV Channel 4 at the human blockade against pet coke. Posted 6/26/13.

Dozens protest storage of pet coke in Detroit (6/24/13). An article that reports dozens of people blocked trucks in a protest against storage of pet coke at a site near the Detroit River. Here is another article and radio report about the blockade that provides greater detail.  And this article appeared in the Windsor Star.  Posted 6/26/13.

Petroleum coke on Detroit's riverfront remains subject of protest, legislation (6/24/13). An article with video about a recent protest against petcoke storage on Detroit's riverfront. Additional similar articles include: Pet coke protested on both sides of Detroit River, Protestors camp out outside pet coke storage site near Detroit River, and Detroiters block dock in pet coke protest. Posted 6/26/13.

Peters: State looking into pet coke dust issue (6/21/13). Michigan environmental officials are looking into the effect that dust from pet coke is having along the Detroit River. Posted 6/27/13.

One pet-coke mound on Detroit River is gone, and it won't be back (6/20/13). The article reports that Nicholson Terminal and Dock, which manages operations at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority site will get out of the petcoke business. Also, One of two petroleum coke piles removed and Public prompts pet coke removal. Posted 6/20/13.

Canada's hidden and unwanted gift in its heavy crudes (6/19/13). John Donovan reports that the waste byproduct petcoke is often left out of plans to refine tar sands crude, leaving communities to figure out what to do with it.  Posted 6/20/13.

Petcoke dust blowing from the piles
Petcoke Update: good news and bad news (6/19/13). Curt Guyette reports on recent developments of the petcoke issue in Detroit, both good and bad. Posted 6/20/13.

Detroit eyes lawsuit to remove mountain of petroleum coke (6/18/13). A news article in which Detroit City Council is reported as considering a lawsuit to force Koch Carbon to remove the piles of petcoke. Posted 6/20/13.

Community Concerns: Petroleum coke in #Detroit (6/15/13). Livestreamed video at a community meeting in Detroit where residents raised concerns about the petcoke piles. Posted 6/18/13.

'PetroKoch': an art project for the Metropolitan Museum (6/16/13). Jeff McMahon of the Guardian suggests - quite humorously and ironically - that as the Met names a plaza after global polluter David Koch, in the spirit of recycling and repurposing, it should relocate a mound of petcoke from the Detroit River for an art installation in this new plaza. A good read. Posted 6/18/13.

Petroleum Coke Detroit - Fugitive Dust (6/16/13). Ruth Germain posted a video that shows petcoke dust blowing from the piles into the wind. Posted 6/18/13.

Condemn burning of harmful oil byproduct. A blog post that urges the President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power to stop burning petcoke. He asks people to sign on to the petition at the bottom of the page. Posted 6/13/13.

Petroleum coke concerns grow (6/14/13). The Michigan Citizen reports on petcoke concerns. Posted 6/20/13.

Monroe plant tests raise concerns (6/12/13). In this Monroe News article DTE Energy spokesperson is quoted as saying DTE has a permit to burn up to 10% of its fuel mix as petcoke, but that there are no health issues. Posted 6/13/13.

From Motown to Coketown (6/12/13). Curt Guyette adds to the conversation about the piles of petcoke stored in the open air on the Detroit River. Posted /13/13.

Growing concerns over the impact of Detroit pet coke piles (6/11/13). An interview with Wayne State University Law Professor Nick Schroeck. Posted 6/12/13.

Under-estimating the climate impacts of bitumen (6/10/13). In rabble.ca, Elizabeth May writes that while the growing piles of petcoke are a local pollution concern, their transportation and burning pose more serious threats to global warming. Posted 6/11/13.

Detroit council wants petcoke off riverfront, Natyshak attacks issue in Queens Park (6/10/13).  Dave Battagello of The Windsor Star reports that the Detroit City Council passed a resolution to take all legal measures to get the petcoke away from the Detroit River or force the companies involved to secure the proper permits and safety measures for storing the dirty waste product. Posted 6/11/13.

Pet coke dust control plan submitted in Michigan (6/10/13). CBC news reports that Detroit Public Storage, the company storing petcoke along the Detroit River, has submitted a draft of a fugitive dust control plan to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Posted 6/11/13.

Brighton: Link may not cut coal use (6/7/13). Rachel Brighton writes that market forces and emissions caps may have spiked demand for petcoke in Nova Scotia. Posted 6/10/13.

Detroit's petcoke pile helps a struggling coal plant stay in business (6/7/13). An article that raises concerns about the claim that petcoke as a cheap energy source is good for struggling coal plants. The author cites impacts on climate and carbon emissions. Posted 6/20/13.

There's a map for that: Marine traffic.com (again!) (6/8/13). Will Femia posted on Rachel Maddow's blog a map of a ship's movement called the Atlantic Huron, which in the past picked up the Koch's coke from the Detroit location. Femia notes that he doesn't know if the Atlantic Huron is still doing petcoke deliveries, but when it was spotted at the Koch's black heap, observers followed it to the Nova Scotia site where petcoke is being burned. Posted 6/10/13.

Detroit struggles with tar sands refinery - in pictures (6/7/13). Series of photographs on the petcoke piles in Detroit. (Posted 6/10/13).

Detroit's mountains of petroleum coke (petcoke) are 'dirtier than the dirtiest fuel' (6/7/13). Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian reports that petcoke is piling up in Detroit and raises concerns that the tar sands pipeline will bring more. Posted 6/10/13.

Petroleum coke and tar sands oil (6/9/13). A blog post that makes reference to Detroit's petcoke on Green Living Tips.com. Posted 6/10/13.

Congressman says water exposed to petroleum coke may have been drained in to the Detroit River for months (6/6/13). Rep. Gary Peters believes that an open drain may have led petcoke-contaminated water into the Detroit River for months before it was sealed. Posted 6/7/13.

Storage company responds to concerns over petroleum coke and drains along the Detroit River (6/6/13). Detroit Bulk Storage, the company maintaining the piles of petcoke claims that the piles of petcoke are being stored safely and legally. We question the legality, as this storage hasn't been permitted; unless permits have been issued in the last day. Posted 6/7/13.

Bills would clean up handling of pet coke (6/6/13). A Detroit Free Press article reports on the introduction of bills by state and federal legislators aimed to address concerns about the piles of petcoke along the Detroit River. Posted 6/7/13.

Peters announces new proposal to study health risks from pet coke (5/28/13).

Residents concerned about petroleum coke along Detroit river (6/4/13).  Craig Fahle radio interviews with Nick Schroeck, Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center and Michelle Martinez of the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies. Posted 6/6/13.

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters 'deeply troubled' by unanswered questions on pet coke runoff (6/5/13). Rep. Peters raises important concerns about petcoke runoff prior to sealing of a catch basin under the 3-story tall mound.  Here is another article: Peters calls for pet coke pile health risk study. Posted 6/6/13.

Huge petroleum coke pile making way back to Canada (6/6/13).  A Canadian electrical power plant has been purchasing some of the petcoke sitting in 3-story high mounds on Detroit's riverbanks. A representative declined to say how it was being used. Here are a few additional articles on the same topic: Canadian utility finds a use for Detroit's pile of oil sands' byproduct and Nova Scotia Power burning high sulfur petcoke from Detroit. Posted 6/6/13.

Pet coke response from Michigan (6/5/13). The article states that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is responding to concerns raised about the petcoke piles. Posted 6/5/13.

Questioning petroleum coke health risks (5/24/13). Article highlighting Congressman Gary Peter's attempt to have an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline legislation that would force a study to be conducted on the environmental and health impacts of petroleum coke. Posted 6/4/13.

Push on for petroleum coke study before keystone pipeline gets OK (5/29/13). A CBS news report that highlights the petcoke dumping taking place in Detroit. Posted 6/4/13.

Congressman John Conyers, affected communities react to petroleum coke, latest Keystone XL politics (5/30/13).  While Detroit may be one of the first cities in the United States to have petcoke pile up in its backyard, it won't be alone for long given that Keystone XL will entrench heavy oil refining and petcoke production in other places. Posted 6/4/13.

Pet coke not discussed by premiers, governors at summit (6/3/13). CBS News reports that during the gathering of governors and premiers of states on the Great Lakes did not speak about the pet coke piles growing on the shores of the Detroit River.  Posted 6/4/13.

Oily, environmentally toxic pyramid of greed being erected in Detroit by the Koch brothers (5/19/13). A blog post that highlights the Koch brothers and global impact of burning this dirty material. Posted 6/3/13.

Koch Brothers: Billionaires place 3-story pile of petroleum coke in Detroit (5/13). Article author Andrea Ayres-Deets asks why Detroit is treated as a dumping ground for this waste byproduct? Environmental racism. She writes that "...low-income communities of color have made popular dumping grounds." Posted 5/31/13.

Peters will ask EPA to study heap of petroleum coke rising along the Detroit River (5/28/13). Chris Gautz of Crain's Detroit writes about Rep. Gary Peters' plans to introduce a bill that would require the EPA to study the effects of the material contained in the pile of petcoke, including its storage and transportation. Posted 5/31/13.

This Week in Crain's: May 31, 2013. (video) A short news summary that includes an overview of "Detroit's petroleum coke problem." Posted 5/31/13.

Premier Wynne, U.S. governors urged to tackle pet coke piles (5/31/13). CBS news article reports on U.S. Representative Gary Peters and Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse's call to address the growing pet coke piles on Detroit's river. Posted 5/31/13.

U.S. Rep.Gary Peters & MP Brian Masse call on Great Lakes Governors, Premiers to address petroleum coke piles (5/31/13). A press release from Congressman Peter's office that urges regional Governors and Premiers to address the issue of the petroleum coke piles that are growing on the Detroit River. Posted 5/31/13.

Congressman Gary Peters and Detroit residents speak about petroleum coke (5/31/13). A video produced and posted by Stephen Boyle. Posted 5/31/13.

Growing outrage, and calls for action on Detroit pet coke piles (5/29/13). Sarah Cwiek from Michigan Radio wrote about citizen concerns for the growing petcoke piles along Detroit's riverfront. Posted 5/30/13.

Company defends petcoke storage (5/30/13). An article in The Windsor Star by Dave Battagello. In the article, a representative of Detroit Bulk Storage said that the company followed every rule and regulation around the storage of petcoke. Whether or not that's the case, we are certain that no permits to store this toxic substance have been issued. Hence - Detroit Bulk Storage is party to illegal dumping in Detroit. Posted 5/30/13.

U.S. Rep Gary Peters: Pet coke 'basically dirtier than the dirtiest coal' (5/28/13). An article by Detroit Free Press Staff Writer Eric Lawrence, accompanied by video. Rep Peters announced that he will introduce legislation next week calling for a complete study of the health and environmental impacts of the waste material being stored along the Detroit River. Posted 5/28/13.

We need answers, legislation on petcoke says U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (5/28/13). A video of Congressman Peters expressing concerns about the health and environmental impacts of pet coke. Posted 5/28/13.

Joined by local business owners, Congressman Peters calls for study into petroleum coke piles on Detroit's riverfront (5/28/13). An article by David Muller on a press conference called by Representative Peters to raise awareness and voice concern about the growing petcoke piles on Detroit's riverbanks. Posted 5/28/13.

Petcoke piles on Detroit's riverfront gain national attention (5/23/13). This article and news story was posted by Amy Lange, Fox 2 News. Posted 5/28/13.

Detroit pet coke study results released by Michigan State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, concerns linger (5/24/13). An article in The Huffington Post by David Sands. The results from Rep. Tlaib's study confirmed that the piles pose no threat, but the Research Director of the Ecology Center still had some concerns. Posted 5/28/13.

Peters uses Keystone XL vote to push for petroleum coke investigation (5/22/13). Journalist Sarah Cwiek reports that Congressman Gary Peters pushed for more scrutiny of petroleum coke in Congress during a recent vote to sidestep President Obama to authorize the first leg of a controversial pipeline project carrying tar sands oil to the US from Canada. Posted 5/23/13.

Koch's unsightly coke mountain: Kemp (5/20/13). An article by John Kemp on Reuters about the rising pet coke piles on Detroit's river banks. Posted 5/23/13

A black mound of Canadian oil waste is rising over Detroit (5/17/13). An article by Ian Austen in the New York Times about the rising pet coke piles on Detroit's river banks. Posted 5/23/13

Pet coke site in Detroit lacks proper zoning, permits (5/2/13). A newspaper article by Dave Battagello in The Windsor Star reported that Detroit Bulk Storage, a company storing the petcoke, has not filed the proper paperwork requesting that the piles be stored on Detroit's riverbank. Posted 5/28/13.

Pet coke piles 'not hazardous,' says expert (3/12/13). An article claiming that the piles are not hazardous. Really? How about dumping these piles in Grosse Pointe, then?

Resources and Documents

H.R. 2298. A bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature by Representatives Peters, Conyers, Levin, Dingell and Kildee to require the Department of Health and Human Services and the EPA to conduct a study on the public health and environmental impacts of the production, transportation, storage and use of petroleum coke. Posted 6/20/13.

Letter (.pdf dated 5/1/13) from the Director of the Detroit City Planning Commission to City Council's Pubic Health & Safety Standing Committee. This memo essentially suggests that there is the nothing the Council can do given that there are no zoning violations and the MDEQ reported that the presence of these piles poses no threat to humans or the environment. Posted 5/28/13.

Petroleum Coke Awareness Detroit (FaceBook Page).

General Articles, Media and Reports

Nungesser test: collection of coal or petroleum coke for further testing (9/9/13). Members of the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition found coal/pet coke in waters where they shouldn't be. They report methods for testing the coal.

Petcoke - a new danger is coming to our waters (6/20/13). Chom Greacen in San Juan county WA raises concerns about the impact that the increasing refining of tar sands and transporting of its waste byproduct will have on the waters and food supply in the Pacific northwest. Posted 6/20/13.

Reader's Corner: The dirtiest of dirty fuels (6/19/13). An opinion article that exposes the claims by Nova Scotia Power that petcoke emits similar levels of CO2 as other fuels as false. Posted 6/20/13.

Gore accuses Koch brothers of being 'purveyors of the dirtiest energy on earth' (6/11/13). In a Google+ conversation, Gore waged this accusation against the Kochs. Video presentation followed by transcript. Posted 6/12/13.

Background on petcoke. Provides general information on petcoke. Posted 6/7/13.

Property owner denies storing petcoke (6/5/13). Dave Battagello of the Windsor Star reports that a black pile nearby residents thought was petcoke is actually coal, according to owner of the gravel yard on the Lake Erie shoreline close to the Kingsville dock. Posted 6/5/13.

Petroleum Coke Category Analysis and Hazard Characterization (12/28/07).

Petroleum Coke: What do we really know about what may become the primary fuel at the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture? ( A PowerPoint that offers useful information about petcoke and concerns raised by the Michigan Land Use Institute and Michigan Energy Alternatives Project. Posted 5/31/13.

Petroleum Coke: The coal hiding in the tar sands (1/2013). This report by Oil Change International claims that pet coke is like coal, but dirtier.  It emits 5-10% more carbon dioxide than coal and per ton, pet coke emits 30-80% more carbon dioxide than coal. Posted 5/31/13.

Occupational Exposure to Carbon/Coke Fibers in Plants that Produce Green or Calcined Petroleum Coke and Potential Health Effects: 1. Fiber Characteristics (2006). A research article abstract that reports that "carbon/coke fibers are not classified or regulated as carcinogens...and the available literature has not reported significant adverse health effects...However, available epidemiological and toxicological studies have limitations that prevent a definitive assessment of carbon/coke fiber toxicity." Posted 5/31/13.

Safety data sheet: Petroleum coke (updated 10/12). Notice that this product from oil refining is classified as combustible dust.  Posted 5/28/13.

Petroleum coke category analysis and hazard characterization (12/28/13). An analysis submitted to the U.S. EPA by The American Petroleum Institute Petroleum HPV Testing Group. Posted 5/23/13.

Screening-level hazard characterization (June 2011). These hazard characterizations are technical documents are intended to inform subsequent decisions and actions of EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. The documents are not written with the goal of informing the general public. However they provide a vehicle for public access to a concise assessment of the raw technical data on HPV chemicals and provide information previously not readily available to the public. Posted 5/23/13.

Petroleum coke: the coal hiding in the tar sands (January 2013). A report by Oil Change International. "Petcoke is like coal, but dirtier." Posted 5/23/13.

The environmental and health implications of petcoke energy production (2007). Link to an abstract of an article that examines the issues associated with integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology and the use of petroleum coke as fuel at electricity production facilities, reports on the search for evidence of impacts in communities surrounding existing IGCC plants, and applies the results to provide a picture of the implications of these proposals. Posted 5/23/14.

Difficult truths about 'difficult oil' (5/22/13). An article by Andrew Nikiforuk that discusses pet coke as a product of difficult oil, which is oil that has been cooked too much, too little or not at all in the process of accelerating or reversing geology.

Port of L.A. covers its petroleum coke (5/17/02). An announcement in the LA Times that the Port of Los Angeles covered all petroleum coke piles after years of public outcry, lawsuits and environmental studies.


May 21, 2013

By: Noelle Frye (YEA)
Sometimes it’s hard to discuss a controversial topic without getting too risky from controversy, but the Young Educators Alliance (YEA) of East Michigan Environmental Action Council is up for such a challenge. On Saturday, February 16th 2013, YEA held the second annual Feed 1 Teach 1 event at the Cass Corridor Commons. The Feed 1 Teach 1 is a big event where EMEAC’s Young Educators Alliance picks an issue that Detroit is facing and collectively come up with solutions along with community members. Last year’s Feed 1 Teach 1 theme dealt with Michigan’s government cash assistance cut offs. This year, YEA wanted to challenge themselves and community members to engage in a dialog about the controversial topic, “Gentrification.”  
Gentrification, known historically by some as “Urban Renewal”, is the displacement of native lower and working class communities that takes place when new development in an area results in an increase in daily living expenses, which in turn makes the area unaffordable for the original residents and business owners. Detroit has been undergoing some major “Urban Renewal” changes, especially in Midtown, which was once known as the Cass Corridor.
“While we are not against new development within the city we are strictly against displacement,” explained the YEA team to an audience of community members. This is totally understandable; why should anyone be forced out of the community in which they have lived and worked for most of their life? YEA’s Feed 1 Teach 1 goal was to explore solutions that reverse gentrification and advocate for equality. YEA spent about two months planning and promoting the Feed 1 Teach 1 collectively. YEA team members conducted a series of interviews in various neighborhoods with everyday people who shared how they felt about their communities and the changes taking place. These oral histories were crafted into a documentary piece for the Feed 1 Teach 1 event. Feed 1 Teach 1 participants also shared a healthy dinner prepared with the help of People’s Kitchen Detroit, while enjoying conscious music and great poetry performances. 
After dinner, YEA team members facilitated two awesome workshops that focused on land and education. Questions were considered such as, “What are we up against?” “What are our resources?” and “What can we build?” as it relates to making the city a better place and fighting to resolve the issue of displacement. Participants agreed that Detroit citizens are up against land grabs, purposeful disinformation, capitalism and more, but despite all the negativity, Detroit has some major resources. Detroit’s powerful resources include youth activism, various environmental organizations, major media outlets and partnerships with education leaders; all resources, which help build great community relationships of people all working together for the betterment of the city. Participants wanted to build more co-ops, enact rent control laws (ownership), have more youth teaching adults and so many other great ideas. After these workshops, everyone separated into groups and physically made their own ideal cities based off of what they had agreed on in the workshops; it was surprising how crafty people were. The atmosphere was filled with knowledgeable individuals who respected each other opinions; everybody was passionate about making a positive change in the city. 
Regarding the Feed 1 Teach 1 event itself, attendees responded, “It was nice. It gave people more concrete actions we can take to organize ourselves to make change!” and “It was awesome. It was a perfect reflection of what real community learning should look like” YEA’s will take next steps by sharing information they have learned about Gentrification with others and put the ideas they learned at the feed 1 Teach 1 into action. 


May 14, 2013

Charity Mahouna Hicks was awarded a three-year Everybody at the Table for Health (EAT4Health) Fellowship in 2012. (See the Press Release). Housed at EMEAC, Charity will engage in base-building, leadership development, public outreach, research, and policy and materials development. 

EAT4Health is a three-year national leadership development initiative of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation supported by multiple funding partners that aims to fill gaps in the existing food policy advocacy ecosystem in order to make it more inclusive of low-income and people of color communities, more responsive to grassroots needs and ideas, and more effective in terms of protecting the environment, promoting good health and rebuilding strong local economies. 

Reports and Updates

Below are updates prepared by EMEAC's Eat4Health Fellow, Charity Mahouna Hicks. Click on links for more information.

April 8, 2013

March 20, 2013

March 3, 2013

Resources on Environmental Justice and Ecology

May 6, 2013

On this page we will share resources on issues of environmental and ecological justice.

For climate justice resources, click here. And for food, land and health justice resources, click here.

Air Quality

Clean Energy - Extreme Energy

Environment - Environmental Justice (general)

Tarsands/Keystone XL


Comic book on environmental justice and the video version
The Biomass Monitor and library of scientific reports


BP is polluting Lake Michigan (7/1/13). British Petroleum dumps nearly 20 times more toxic mercury into Lake Michigan than federal regulations permit. Posted 8/11/13.

U.S. justices to hear EPA appeal over air pollution rule (6/24/13). The Supreme Court agreed to consider the legality of a controversial Obama administration effort to regulate air pollution that crosses state lines. Posted 7/30/13.

Land order facilitates solar energy development on public lands (7/8/13). The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced the withdrawal of lands identified for solar energy development in the West from new mining claims. Posted 7/12/13.

Duke study links fracking to methane in drinking water (7/8/13). A recent study published by a Duke university research team has found new evidence that links hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to elevated methane levels in private water supplies across northeastern Pennsylvania. Posted 7/12/13.

EPA Report Shows Link Between Land Use, Health, Environment (6/24/13). In a new study by the EPA's Smart Growth Program, a link was found between environmental quality and land use and transportation strategies. Posted 6/27/13.

Obama: Keystone XL Should Not Be Approved if it Will Increase Gas Emissions (6/25/13). President Obama asks the State Department to not approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Posted 6/25/13.

Cross-Canada actions on June 25 in support of Tar Sands blockade in Ontario (6/24/13). Press release of the Idle No More movement indicates that multiple actions opposing tar sands will take place in Ontario. The pipeline crosses the territories of 18 Indigenous nations along its route who have not given free, prior informed consent to the project. Posted 6/25/13.

Panama Canal Expansion Affects Ports. To accommodate larger ships and barges moving through the expanded Panama Canal, other port cities are having to expand as well. Such domino expansion efforts and the increased shipping traffic - quality and quantity - will most certainly lead to greater air and water pollution, and the resulting health problems of port city residents. Posted 6/13/13.

Environmental Justice in Detroit: Amid Toxic Communities There is Still Hope (6/10/13). Article that speaks to the work of the Detroit Climate Action Plan Collaborative. Posted 6/10/13.

Rail Project at LA Port Draws Environmental Group Ire (6/10/13). An NPR radio report in which concerns are raised about expansion of the rail yard to accommodate thousands of more truck trips per day are raised.  Important lessons for Detroit as the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal promises greater pollution to SW Detroit. Posted 6/10/13.

Environmental Groups File Suit Against EPA Emissions Standards (5/30/13). Kyle Barnett reports that several environmental groups are challenging what they call archaic emission quality standards that are lackadaisically enforced by the EPA. Posted 6/3/13.

City Warns Michigan Officials it Cannot Deal with Hazardous Goods on Bridge  (5/27/13). An unnamed bridge company requested that the ban preventing the transport of hazardous materials across the Ambassador Bridge be lifted. The Michigan Department of Transportation then issued a report recommending that this ban be lifted. Canada is concerned about this; as it should be. Posted 5/28/13.

EPA to Change the Way it Handles Environmental Justice Complaints (5/6/13).  The U.S. EPA released two policy papers that addresses long-standing criticism of the agency's Office of Civil Rights. Let's hope they do what they say they will do. Posted 5/22/13.


Sacred Voices (9/2012).  A short film that shares the messages of eight traditional Sacred Natural Site Custodians from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda. Posted 5/16/13.

William Copeland Vlog on his participation at the World Social Forum-Free Palestine (12/18/2012). Posted 5/16/13.

WSF Free Palestine - Fighting Environmental Injustices, Land Grabs and Resource Theft in Palestine and Beyond. (12/2012). Panelists highlight community struggles for land, water and other necessities and campaigns to challenge the misuse of 'environmentalism' to cover up destruction of land, people and ways of life. Posted 5/16/13.

Food, Land & Health Justice Resources

by Angie Vanessa C├írdenas & Oil watch
Below are links to various resources on health and food justice, food security and food sovereignty. Under each heading, resources are listed by publication date (most recent at the top), if available, or date of posting.

Here are links to resources on climate justice and environmental justice and ecology.

Resources on Health and the Environment

Resources on Food and Food Justice

Resources on Land Rights, Agriculture and Farmers