Mounds of oil refinery byproduct prompt concerns

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DETROIT (AP) -- Hulking black mounds that have risen recently on two sites along the banks of the Detroit River in southwest Detroit are prompting concerns about potential pollution.

The Detroit Free Press reports (http://on.freep.com/ZHPISZ ) Wednesday that the petroleum coke, or pet coke, mounds are a byproduct of oil refining used in energy production. The material has been brought by trucks from the nearby Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery.

Area residents, the Canadian government and Democratic U.S. Reps. Gary Peters and John Conyers are among those concerned about the potential impact on the area.

Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum says the pet coke stored along the Detroit River is no longer owned by the company, so it can't comment on its storage. If stored properly, however, Marathon says pet coke poses no environmental concerns.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com