Residents protest Detroit refinery over pollution concerns

DETROIT (AP) — Demonstrators are urging a Detroit oil refinery to relocate nearby residents over concerns about pollution.

Dozens of protesters gathered Thursday at the Marathon Petroleum refinery to voice concerns about the company’s lack of action. The demonstration came weeks after a federal appeals court ruled against a district court’s decision that residents’ claims of injury due to harmful air pollution from the oil giant fell past the statute of limitations, the Detroit News reported.

Marathon officials said they created a buyout program allowing some residents to sell their homes during the refinery’s expansion, which was completed in 2012. But protesters said Marathon ignored some polluted areas.

“They are our personal polluters,” said Wendy Kyles, who attributed her late relatives’ health issues to emissions from the site. “So they should do us a personal favor and get us out of here.”

Marathon offered the buyout program because the expansion “moved its fence line closer to that neighborhood (Oakwood Heights), which was a residential island surrounded on all sides by industry and the Rouge River,” said company spokesman Jamal Kheiry.

The company said it doesn’t currently have plans for another buyout program.

The refinery was built in 1930 and bought by Marathon in 1959. Those who live around the facility have long complained about pollutants and raised concerns about health problems they believe are associated with it.

“They’re not doing anything to understand where the people are coming from,” said Rachel Cabell, who has lived near the facility for more than 30 years. “If you live it every day, you can relate.”