Detroit tar sands refinery explosion.

           On April 27 a major explosion rocked the Marathon Detroit Refinery in Detroit, Michigan. It sent a thick plume of smoke into the sky and pollution into the air. It caused a brief evacuation for the neighboring town of Melvindale. It was quickly withdrawn. The worst part of this, is the growing list of oil related incidents it joins. It is already proving to be a devastating year in terms of toxice fumes and pollution.

          As of now officials aren’t sure what caused the explosion. It happened when a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia blew up a tank during maintenence work. Reportedly there were no deaths or injuries. As economically ravaged as Detroit is, they could ill afford this unfortunate incident and the resulting environmental pollution. The refinery processes dirty Canadian tar sands, the sane type that would run through the contreversial Keystone XL pipeline,  if it ever gets built.

             According to an environmental study by scientist at the university of Michigan conducted, the Marathon refinery was already notoriously toxic prior to the explosion. The study shows that the zip code was the most heavily polluted in Detroit. Detroit is the most polluted area in all of Michigan. Nearby residents commonly suffer from leukemia, asthma and multiple types of cancer.

                 The Marathon refinery had received 13 air pollution violations since 2001. Althoughnone resulted in a penalties because Marathon took quick corrective action. On the other hand, sampling performed by residents and overseen by Global Community Monitor, and environmental group out of California, in 2010 found high levels is benzene, a known carcinogen. Hydrogen sulfide was found near the plant. In one case more than 20 chemicals, including benzene, were detected in a residents basement. The EPA investigation traced the contamination to Marathon’s dumping of waste water into the city sewer systems.

                 Many residents around the Marathon refinery are beginning to accept buyouts. Marathon has been squiring houses in a decaying neighborhood in Oakwood Heights. Many others ate still awaiting offers in order to get away from the pollution.

           I have barely heard mention of this on the news. Just because there were not any fatalities doesn’t change the fact that this is bad news. The oversight on these potentially hazardous plants is not working. Apparently these is another case of corporate money buying freedom to do as you will. These again relies on our government to correct the growing problems in the oil industry. Democrats are already on board, but of course Republicans are more concerned with protecting their corporate handlers. There have been enough problems with oil companies this year, lets get some oversight.

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