And imagine these piles across the United States if the Keystone Pipeline project is approved
Canada’s oil sand mines will eventually produce up to 2 trillion barrels of oil and what that could mean for the environment has been debated for years. What’s often overlooked though is a coke byproduct that results from refining the tar-like bitumen of the oil sands into oil.
Coke is a low-quality type of coal and the Marathon Petroleum plant in Detroit has made overlooking its role in the oil sands debate impossible to ignore. The refinery was built on the Detroit River more than 70 years ago but began refining Canadian oil sand deliveries just last November.
The coke waste started accumulating then.The New York Times writes that now the mound of coke towers three stories above the street, covers an entire city block, and is owned by Koch Carbon controlled by David and Charles Koch.
Petroleum coke generates up to 10% more CO2 than coal, and new permits allowing its use are no longer issued in the U.S.
So, what do they end up doing with it? After exposing us for lord knows how long to a mountainous eyesore and possible groundwater contamination, it’s shipped overseas.
The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.
Out of sight, out of mind…well, except for the whole global warming thing.