Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

November 26, 2013

Piles of Midwest 'petcoke' raising residents' ire

CHICAGO (AP) — The images are startling. Billowing black clouds darken the daytime sky as wind-driven grit pelts homes and cars and forces bewildered residents to take cover.

The onslaught, captured in photos and video footage from Detroit and Chicago this year, was caused by the same thing: brisk winds sweeping across huge black piles of petroleum coke, or "petcoke," a powdery byproduct of oil refining that's been accumulating along Midwest shipping channels and sparking a new wave of health and environmental concerns.

The piles are evidence of a sharp increase in North American oil production — particularly crude extracted from oil sands in Canada — that has been trapped in the Midwest because of limited pipeline capacity to carry it to the Gulf and West coasts, leading to unprecedented amounts of oil refining and petcoke production here.

In Midwestern neighborhoods near refineries, the growing black mountains have brought outcries from residents and new efforts by lawmakers to control or banish the blowing dust.

"We could barely open the windows this summer because the black dust was so bad," said Susanna Gomez, 37, a mother and grandmother who lives on Chicago's far southeast side, across a set of railroad tracks from a shipping terminal that stockpiles petcoke until it can be loaded on to ships for export. She said she worries about one of her sons, who's asthmatic, but doesn't have the money to move.

Alan Beemsterboer, whose family owns another nearby site that long has handled slag, asphalt and coal, and now, increasingly, petcoke, said he doesn't understand the controversy.

"This has been an industrial area forever — a coke plant used to be there, a steel mill used to be there," Beemsterboer said. "Coal and petcoke are just dirty words now. "

Petcoke has been part of the American industrial landscape since the 1930s, when refineries began installing equipment to "cook" residue left over from making gasoline and diesel into a solid fuel that could be burned in power plants and cement kilns.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • Clark County sheriff charged in prostitution probe NEW ALBANY (AP) — A southern Indiana sheriff who authorities say gave a prostitute a deputy's badge and uniform so she could get hotel discounts, then paid her for a sex act, has been charged with lying to FBI agents investigating the case. A federal

    July 29, 2014

  • Hepatitis Drug [Duplicate] $1,000-per-pill Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice WASHINGTON (AP) — The price may be high but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million. Even with insurers reluctant to pay, Sov

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Madison County voting records sought in US probe ANDERSON (AP) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Madison County voting records after absentee ballots cast in Anderson's 4th Ward determined the winners of several races. The subpoena issued by federal prosecutors seeks several records from the Ma

    July 29, 2014

  • Coroner rules Lafayette toddler's death a homicide LAFAYETTE (AP) — A coroner has ruled as a homicide last week's death of a 14-month-old Lafayette girl who succumbed to a traumatic head injury. The Marion County Coroner's office reported Monday that the cause of Skylar Foster's death was blunt force

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans Health Care-3 [Duplicate] Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Vetera

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • CORRECTION Oklahoma Bombing Video [Duplicate] FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were invol

    July 29, 2014 7 Photos

  • Fugitive Arrest Shootout-9 [Duplicate] Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 28, 2014 5 Photos

  • Film Review Guardians of the Galaxy-6 [Duplicate] Review: 'Guardians' is irreverent but not enough At the height of their powers, our overlords at Marvel have deigned to prove, like an emperor tolerating a court jester, that they do, in fact, have a sense of humor. The Marvel universe, of course, isn't entirely lacking comedy, as we've seen in "Ir

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • TV-Sharknado 2-6 [Duplicate] 'Sharknado' sequel has bite and lots of laughs NEW YORK (AP) — Don't worry about me. The Sharknado Evacuation map supplied by Syfy network places me, as a resident of Lower Manhattan, smack in the zone most in peril this sharknado season. But I'll be ready. You might as well batten down the hatch

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Virus drugmaker fights pediatricians' new advice CHICAGO (AP) — A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines f

    July 28, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller