Koch Coke: Detroit Gets A Mountain of the Dirtiest Residue of the Dirtiest Oil

Abby Zimet

If you need another reason for fear and loathing of Keystone, there's this: Towering over the Detroit River is a three-story, block-long pile of petroleum coke, the toxic, high-sulfur, high-carbon and ever-increasing - Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled - waste byproduct of refining tar sands oil. Entirely appropriately, the owners of the pile are the Koch brothers, who are among the largest petroleum coke dealers in the world and who every year deliver millions of tons of fuel-grade coke - too dirty and inefficient to be allowedto burn in the U.S. - to countries like China and Mexico with looser environmental laws. The kicker: the Koch brothers didn't even get permits from state or city officials, who are reportedly less than happy their city is again being used as a dumping ground but add they don't think there's a "significant" health threat with run-off, which should totally reassure worried residents. If Keystone goes ahead, look for a toxic mountain near you. And in case you think toxic mountains are the only threat the Kochs pose: The New Yorker's Jane Mayer looks at public television's efforts to placate David Koch in connection with a couple of recent critical documentaries. The inevitable conclusion by one observer: "Nobody's money talks louder than David Koch's."


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