MP Brian Masse speaks at the riverside protest on Saturday. Photo by Doug Hayes.
The Windsor Square reports, “The Council of Canadians and Windsor on Watch are teaming up together to protest the mountains of ‘petcoke’ (petroleum coke) accumulating on the American side of the Detroit River this Saturday, 9 March, at noon at Riverside and Askin (at Assumption Park). …The local chapter president of the Council of Canadians, Doug Hayes, said, ‘There are piles of this stuff in Alberta. People only talk about tar sands emissions. They don’t talk about other problems like this.'”The Detroit River is a 24-nautical mile river that travels south from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. It divides Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. The Windsor Star adds that the petcoke – “a massive black pile of petroleum coke on the shores of the Detroit River” – is being produced by the Marathon Oil refinery in Detroit, which is now processing heavy crude oil brought in by pipeline from the Alberta tar sands. The newspaper notes, “A formal request for federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and the International Joint Commission to act on the (petroleum coke) was filed Thursday by MP Brian Masse.” He says, “This water is precious to both sides, it’s used for drinking. The minister knows about it – he responded with a note – so hopefully we will see efforts immediately, so that no more of this gets in the water.” And Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib adds, “This is potentially something very serious for the Detroit River and water quality — which is provided (from the river) to 79 municipalities in four counties.” Update Late on Saturday, the Windsor Star reported, “Members of Windsor On Watch and The Council of Canadians, along with local residents, joined at noon at Assumption Park in hopes to bring awareness to the large mounds of crude oil byproduct that has been piling on the east and western shores of the Ambassador Bridge. ‘We’re right here, we’re watching and we’re going to give them a hard time until they gives us some answers,’ protest organizer, Pat Noonan, said while facing a mound of petroleum coke (petcoke) four storeys high and a couple of hundred metres in length.”