06/11/2013 08:12 am ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

The Human Cost Of Detroit's Petroleum Koch Piles - James Fassinger | STILLSCENES |


Much has been written recently about the mysterious black piles that appeared in one day in November 2012 on the banks of the Detroit River, not far from the Motor City's downtown district, right next to the Ambassador Bridge - the busiest international crossing in North America. These huge stockpiles of petroleum coke, the byproduct of refining tar sands oil at the Marathon refinery in Southwest Detroit, are owned by Koch Carbon, a company run by the brothers Charles and David Koch.

Debate about possible health and environmental concerns, as well as permit and storage issues have been widely reported in the press both in the US and across the river in Windsor, Canada. Citizen and environmental groups are calling for action, while US Congressman Gary Peters (D-Mich) introduced the Petroleum Transparency and Public Health Study Act in Washington on June 6, 2013 that calls for an investigation into the piles and seeks information on how Michigan residents are affected by them.

This series of photographs takes a closer look at the people the petroleum coke piles are impacting, the areas around the stockpiles and where it is being produced.

Read more on StillScenes