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October 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm #3929
Marathon to curb emissions, hire Detroiters at refinery
Christine MacDonald / The Detroit News 10/04/07
DETROIT — Marathon Petroleum officials told the City Council on Wednesday that they will hire about half of their new employees from the city for their proposed $1.5 billion refinery expansion and have significantly reduced the possible air pollution from the project.
Those were two areas council members said last month they wanted company officials to address before they would approve any tax breaks for the project.
On Wednesday, the council held a public hearing on a proposal to give the site a brownfield designation, which would allow the company to qualify for up to $10 million in state tax credits.
The City Council is expected to vote on that proposal Tuesday, along with giving the company an exemption of personal property tax, which would save Marathon about $174 million over the next 20 years.
About 15 people spoke at the hearing.
Several union representatives and Marathon employees spoke in favor of the project, saying it will bring badly needed jobs. But several residents and environmentalists spoke against the project because it would increase pollution in the area already dominated by industry.
The expansion would increase air emissions — carbon dioxide and fine particulates — by up to 10 percent from 2006 levels, company officials said. Just last month, Marathon said it would increase by 30 percent but they have been able to reduce the impact through the design of the project, said James Wilkins, manager of health, environmental safety and security for the company’s refining divisions.
They plan to offset the 10 percent increase with, among other things, high-tech street sweeping and pollution filters for local school buses. The company has also bought credits from other companies, which have reduced emissions since 2003, in hopes of getting state clearance for the emissions boost
You can reach Christine MacDonald at (313) 222-2396 or cmacdonald@detnewscom <mailto:email@example.com> .
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