The City Council of the US City of Detroit Michigan has approved tax breaks for a proposed $1.5 billion Marathon refinery expansion in southwest Detroit. As you might expect from an "expansion" project, the new operating permit, if granted, would call for carbon dioxide and fine particulate emissions to go up significantly. Of course, Marathon would be required to upgrade their air and water pollution control technology to meet government standards (as currently interpreted by the Bush Administration).
The project is expected to bring 135 new jobs, up to 1,200 construction jobs and close to $9 million a year in taxes and increased gasoline supplies to the area.
But some southwest Detroit residents and environmentalists have opposed the plan, saying the expansion would increase pollution in the area, which is already dominated by industry...
But even with the approval, Detroit won't necessarily see the expansion. Sites in St. Paul Park, Minn., and Robinson, Ill., also are under consideration.
So, three cities are competing for a single operation that will refine oil from Alberta Tar Sands, delivered via existing pipeline network. Ostensibly, the motive is mainly to get more jobs and tax revenues. Michigan is having a terrible time balancing the State budget, now that revenues from vehicle related sales are down (another casualty of SUV/Truck overshoot). The other states and cities may be in similar positions.As background, two other Midwestern refinery expansions, Whiting Indiana, and Superior, Wisconsin, are already slated to pull Alberta Tar Sands oil from this same pipeline network. We call the overall refinery expansion trend based on the pipeline network from Canada the "Texification of the Midwest." Check out our interpretation of the pipeline network map on the Texification post. For an expanded view, look here before DHS takes it down for "security."
Gasoline from Alberta Tar Sands crude produces approximately double the C02 emissions per mile driven. So, when a Midwesterner fills up his or her vehicle from gasoline made from that oil, the climate impact is roughly doubled. Of course what happens to Detroit air and water is important, as is keeping affordable heating fuel available for Detroit-area citizens, and as is a tax base to keep government functioning. Same for all the other states and cities on the Alberta Crude pipeline. But, what about the climate impacts - those are global?
The irony of the Detroit proposal, in particular, apparently has not dawned on people. Or, at least, its' not being reported by the Michigan press. If logic had sway, given todays evidence of an impending climate crisis, new cars made and sold in the Great Lakes region would all get double the mileage just to compensate for doubled climate impact of their increasingly filthy Canadian-fed gasoline. Instead, elected officials from these states push the opposite point of view, lobbying against any measure which would reduce the short term profitability of firms in the automotive supply chain. Hence, the Easter Island imagery selected for this post. One cold, stone effigy for every elected official from the Midwest who does not see the joke is ultimately on him and his progeny.
The perversity of the most polluting fuels being sold where vehicle inefficiency has been a design virtue for decades is something you just can't make up. And, now, they get a tax break for it.