Detroit — May 21, 2014 at 7:07 am

Detroit storage facility denied permit to store Koch brothers’ petcoke on bank of Detroit River


Detroit Bulk Storage has been denied a permit by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to store petcoke on the banks of the Detroit River. As you may recall, they were storing giant piles of the toxic byproduct of tar sands oil refining by Koch Carbon, an energy company owned by the billionaire Koch brothers. Last year, the piles were moved elsewhere after giant clouds of billowing petcoke dust filled the air in Detroit.

At the time Detroit Bulk Storage said the move was temporary.

Now it’s permanent.

Detroit Bulk Storage eventually removed the material [last summer] — much to the delight of opponents on both sides of the Detroit River who feared potential health problems from dust blowing off the site. The worries were stoked in part by video footage on YouTube in July showing large clouds of pet coke blowing off the riverside site.

In December, company officials tried a different tack by seeking permission to store the material eight miles south down the Detroit River at its headquarters. But DEQ officials said they are denying the permit request because of the fugitive dust issue.

“Given this operator’s history, and the fact that they’re proposing to essentially do the same thing in a different spot, the DEQ is moving to deny this permit application,” said Brad Wurfel, a DEQ spokesman in a written response to questions.

It’s very good news for the people of Detroit. For once, the Koch brothers weren’t able to buy their way into something they wanted at the expense of others.