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MiCAN Public Comment Opposing Proposed Marathon Oil Permit

MiCAN has expressed strong opposition to Marathon Oil’s proposed permit to expand crude oil throughput at its Detroit refinery located in the 48217 neighborhood.

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The Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN) is a collaborative network of more than 130 groups and 40,000+ individuals committed to taking equitable action on climate in Michigan.

On behalf of the Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN), and the undersigned organizations, we are writing to express our strong opposition to Marathon Oil’s proposed permit to expand crude oil throughput at its Detroit refinery located in the 48217 neighborhood. This proposal, which seeks to remove all operational limits and allow the refinery to run at 100% capacity year-round, presents significant environmental and public health risks that far outweigh any potential benefits from the installation of additional pollution control devices.

The 48217 neighborhood is already recognized as Michigan's most polluted zip code with the highest air pollution burden of any zip code in the state. Residents in this area are disproportionately affected by severe health conditions including asthma, cancer, and heart disease. These ailments have all been linked to high levels of air pollution, a condition that will undoubtedly worsen with Marathon Oil’s proposed expansion. It is crucial that EGLE is able to consider the cumulative impacts of Marathon and other polluting facilities in the area.

Although Marathon Oil plans to implement more pollution control measures, the increased output from the refinery is projected to exceed any benefits these measures might offer. The health and well-being of nearby communities cannot afford further degradation of air quality. Moreover, the proposed expansion will exacerbate existing environmental injustices faced by residents who have long borne the brunt of industrial pollution.

Additionally, the Marathon refinery’s reliance on crude oil transported via Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline—an over 70-year-old infrastructure crossing the Straits of Mackinac—poses a severe risk to Michigan's waterways. The Canadian company Enbridge, owns Line 5 which is one of the largest and immediate threats Michigan faces today. The eroding dual pipeline travels down our state carrying over 23 million gallons of crude oil daily, mostly supplying Canada. An expansion of the refinery could incentivize continued and increased use of this aging pipeline, threatening our state's drinking water, tourism, agriculture, and overall way of life.

We also note that while Marathon has proposed extending its perimeter air monitoring program for three years, this measure is insufficient to address the long-term health impacts on the community. Effective and continuous air quality monitoring and transparency are essential to ensuring the health and safety of local residents and should be performed regardless of this permit being approved.

With goals set by our state to divest from fossil fuel infrastructure and move toward renewable energy, this expansion is in direct conflict with initiatives like your MI Healthy Climate Plan. As we also have seen in recent studies, those who are closest to climate change impacts are also the ones living in the communities already without access to proper resources, green spaces or fresh produce.

For these reasons, we urge the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Air Quality Division, to deny the Permit to Install (PTI) applications associated with the Detroit Permitting Project (DPP). The health and well-being of the people of Michigan and the protection of Michigan’s natural resources, must take precedence over industrial expansion. We believe in a future where industrial progress does not come at the expense of our communities and environment.

Thank you for considering our concerns.


Michigan Climate Action Network
MI Air MI Health
For Love of Water (FLOW)
Grand Rapids Climate Coalition
We the People of Detroit
Clean Water Action
Sisters IHM
Great Lakes Spirituality Project
Traverse Indivisible
Van Buren Climate Action Team
Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
Urban Core Collective
Statewide Indivisible Michigan
Indivisible Huron Valley
Capital Area Friends of the Environment

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