EPA asked to investigate Detroit’s Marathon Refinery after leak last year

Marathon said vapor wasn’t a danger

DETROIT – The Environmental Protection Agency has been asked to investigate the Marathon Refinery in Detroit.

A request for the agency to step in comes from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment after a chemical release at the plant in September 2019.

That release was a vapor leak that sent two workers to the hospital and closed roads around the refinery.

According to Marathon the oil vapor cloud did not pose a danger to the public.

“I think it’s really important fro folks to know can’t allow corporate polluters to be responsible for the information. We have to allow the federal and state government to do the testing themselves,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib said.

Marathon released the following response:

"Marathon Petroleum is in receipt of the letter from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform and is in the process of reviewing the request.

"In September, when the incident occurred, the Detroit refinery immediately sounded the alarm and timely notified local, state and federal emergency response groups. During the incident, the Detroit refinery deployed air monitoring resources. Extensive air monitoring was conducted and readings indicated that there were no unsafe air quality levels. Additionally, residents who signed-up for refinery alerts were notified. The refinery continues to work in coordination with emergency responders to improve its response times.

"Marathon provided full, detailed information to the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board shortly following this incident.

"As part of our efforts to be transparent with our neighbors, refinery leadership reviewed the incident with the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the refinery’s Citizens Advisory Panel. In addition, when Representative Tlaib toured the plant on November 7, we reviewed the incident, our response and our plans to improve our response time with her.

“Marathon Petroleum welcomes any and all discussion about our operation at the Detroit Refinery. We regret this incident occurred and we apologize to the community for any inconvenience.”

Read more about environmental issues in Metro Detroit here.

About the Authors: