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Oil Refinery Expansions Face Opposition

An oil refinery in Detroit wants to expand its capacity by 15 percent, but neighbors and environmentalists oppose the project. This report, funded in part by the Park Foundation, describes how the Michigan case is indicative of the situation nationwide.

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  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT, NewsHour Correspondent:

    The Marathon oil refinery in Detroit wants to expand its capacity by 15 percent, but getting permission to grow refineries hasn't been easy.

    The company went right to the public with two open houses to get support, touting the hundreds of jobs, construction and expansion would bring to an area with high unemployment. At a public hearing in Detroit, the company emphasized how the proposed $1.2 billion expansion plan using crude oil from Canada's tar sands oil field would benefit the area.

    Scott Maddox is a project manager.

  • SCOTT MADDOX, Marathon Petroleum:

    Being able to run crude from nearby Canada will allow us to avoid supply interruptions that can occur when shipping crude oil halfway around the world. This will allow us to provide a more stable supply of fuels for Michigan and the surrounding area.

  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT:

    But the fear of added pollution, both in the air and in the water, worried many Detroit-area residents.

  • LUCILLE CAMPBELL, Detroit-Area Resident:

    I have a list of the chemicals that Marathon spews out and what cancers it causes. People are dying. People are sick. Yes, you know, we want you to have — we want to have jobs and all these kinds of things, but we need for it to be done right. As far as I'm concerned, Marathon can go someplace else.