Governors and premiers representing states and provinces surrounding the Great Lakes meet for the Council of the Great Lakes Governors Summit today.
U.S. Representative Gary Peters and Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse are urging them to address at the meeting the issue of petroleum coke piles that are growing along the Detroit River.
Peters and Masse believe the current storage of the oil refinery byproduct, also known as pet coke, is inadequate.
The two politicians worry dust could from the three-story piles could contaminate the air and that runoff during rain could do the same to water.
"Michigan families and businesses are justifiably concerned about the potential health risks from the piles of petroleum coke near the Detroit River, and I urge the U.S. and Canadian leaders today to use the opportunity of this summit to ensure our Great Lakes communities and watershed stay healthy," Peters said in an statement. "It is essential that we have regional co-operation to protect the Great Lakes, one of Michigan’s and North America’s greatest assets."
Earlier this week, Peters called on Washington to conduct a complete health review of petroleum coke.
Masse claims "very little is known about the potential impacts of petroleum coke on the environment and human health."
"We need to develop stronger understandings of the impacts that this material will have on our communities from its production, transportation, storage and end use," Masse said in a statement.
Pet coke is used mainly as an energy source, similar to coal, and is burned mainly in countries overseas.
"The Great Lakes is one of the world’s greatest treasures, and we owe it to ourselves, our children and future generations to continue to fight to improve the environmental conditions and erring on side of caution should be policy and practice," Masse said.
The Council of Great Lakes Governors Leadership Summit is set to meet Friday and throughout the weekend. Governors Pat Quinn (Illinois), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Mike Pence (Indiana) and Scott Walker (Wisconsin) will attend. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is also scheduled to attend.