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Gary Peters Wants Detroit Pet Coke Probe

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Partial shot of the mound which now blocks view of Windsor, Ontario. (credit:Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

Partial shot of the mound which now blocks view of Windsor, Ontario. (credit:Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Michigan U.S. Rep. Gary Peters has taken to the House floor to criticize the storage of large piles of an oil-refining byproduct known as petroleum coke along the Detroit River.

The metro Detroit Democrat failed to win approval for an amendment to legislation on the Keystone Pipeline requiring an investigation of the storage.

He said Wednesday that Congress needs to act to protect “families and natural resources like the Great Lakes from the threat of contamination,” by the substance, known as “pet coke” for short.

The petroleum coke mounds are a byproduct of oil refining used in energy production. The material has been brought by trucks from the nearby Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery and stored at a site off Jefferson Avenue in southwest Detroit, where it’s loaded onto freighters.

The mounds began drawing more attention starting earlier this year. Area residents, the Canadian government and U.S. lawmakers are among those concerned about potential pollution and health effects.

Peters and fellow U.S. Rep. John Conyers have asked the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to investigate whether Detroit Bulk Storage complies with state regulations. The department has said it doesn’t see an immediate threat to the environment or to human health.

MORE: Southwest Detroiters Demand Answers About Petroleum Waste

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report).

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