‘Direct action works’
Bing, EM stop pet coke storage
DETROIT — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has ordered petroleum coke piles, owned by the right-wing billionaire cabal Koch Brothers, now stored on the banks of the Detroit River be removed by Aug. 27. Bing also ordered the piles of the toxic pet coke, a by-product of the processing of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, be covered until it is removed to prevent dust clouds from littering the homes of Detroit residents.
City officials have threatened to padlock the storage facility, Detroit Bulk Storage, if the pet coke is not moved as ordered. Billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun owns the property used to store the pet coke.
“DBS personnel have assured us that no new materials are being brought onto the site, and all of their activity is concentrated on offsite removal of the pet coke,” said Mayor Bing. “We are keenly aware of the health concerns of our neighboring residents and are firmly committed to resolving this situation as soon as possible.”
All Bing directives can only be enforced with the approval of Detroit Emergency Manager Keyvn Orr, who has apparently approved Bing’s actions.
Breast cancer survivor and former Detroit State Representative Mary Waters, who helped block trucks from delivering pet coke to the storage facility along with five other protesters June 24, said the city only moved after protestors took action.
“It was direct action calling attention to the health hazard of pet coke that led the city of Detroit to stop the storage of pet coke on the Detroit River. Until we blocked those trucks, the EM and mayor looked the other way. Direct action works,” said Waters.
Waters, with members of Michigan National Action Network, joined the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (D-CATS), who organized a rally and march June 23, where approximately 50 people marched from Clark Park to the foot of 14th Street, where the line of black pet coke hills begin and go west along the banks of the Detroit River.
State Rep. Rashida Talib, who addressed both the rally and the group who blocked the trucks, expressed her gratitude to Detroit citizens for their direct action in her e-mail response to Bing’s directive.
“Neighbors, I can’t express enough how proud I am for all of your efforts. I am blessed to have active and passionate neighbors that know what they deserve and fight for it.”
Mayor Bing echoed her sentiments. “I want to thank our citizens for voicing their concerns and for persistently monitoring the situation on the Detroit River,” he said. “They came forth with information that will assist us in improving the quality of life in our city.”
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