Protect Our Health, Protect Our Air

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Dear City Council Members,

In the summer of 2013, dust from a petroleum coke pile along the Detroit River formed a black cloud that caused alarm and concern among local residents. The incident shined a light on the public health risk from dust from facilities that store materials such as metallurgical coke, petroleum coke, coal, limestone, gravel, sand, ore in large quantities.

Dust from bulk storage and processing facilities is an important public health and enjoyment of property issue. In Detroit, several dust sources are located in zip code 48217, which is the most polluted zip code in Michigan. Dust from bulk storage and processing facilities have been found to be a significant source of particulate matter pollution, which can cause serious health effects, particularly for children with asthma and the elderly.

To address this issue, groups and residents worked with Council Member Castañeda-López to propose the ordinance before Council that would require materials mentioned above to be stored, handled, and processed in a fully enclosed building. It also requires facilities that store and handle non-carbonaceous materials such as limestone, steel slag, and ore to control dust from their storage piles, trucks, and roadways. Lastly, it requires every facility to install on-site particulate matter monitors that are capable of detecting particulate matter pollution and required facilities to respond to spikes in pollution as they occur.

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, urge you to VOTE YES on the bulk storage/fugitive dust ordinance. We need and deserve the protections in this ordinance to keep our air clean to breathe and protect our health.

Our communities are already suffering from higher than normal rates of asthma. We can no longer afford the risks to our health and quality of life.