Detroit residents want answers after leak at Marathon Refinery, rally planned

Leak also occurred in February

By Jermont Terry - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - A leak at the Marathon Refinery in Detroit created an oil vapor cloud over the area and those who live in the area said this is not the first time something like that has happened.

Residents have planned a rally for Friday to address the issue. Groups are expected to gather in New Center to demand the state do more to make sure those living near the refinery are safe and the companies are being held accountable.

Theresa Landrum said her day and its plans shifted unexpectedly when alarms sounded at the Marathon Refinery.

"Here we go again, It's always, 'Here we go again,'" she said.

A leak at the refinery created an oil vapor cloud over the area and workers evacuated the plant. Parts of the interstate were shut down. Officials insisted there was never a threat to the public.

"They always tell us, 'There's no impact, it's under control.' How do we know that? Who came in and tested the air?" she said.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy regulates Marathon's refinery. The agency is responsible for air quality monitoring.

"We still haven't heard back on what level of fine was issued from the February event," Justin Onwenu, with the Sierra Club Environmental Just Program, said.

In February, smelly odors filled the air after vapors were released. With the latest leak, local environmental groups will rally at the state facility demanding to know what's going on.

"Local government needs to stop passing the buck to the state and saying, 'Hey, we have no responsibility at all.' It's a state issue.' We need all level of government to actually work for people."

Because longtime residents like Landrum are still wondering what's really in the air.

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