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E-M:/ Sierra Club Opposes Marathon Oil Refinery Expansion, Supports Communities and Clean Energy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 30, 2008
CONTACTS:       Rhonda Anderson, 313-965-0052
                              Oliver Bernstein, 512-477-2152

Sierra Club Joins Community Members to Testify against Marathon Oil Refinery Expansion;
Impacted Communities Demand a Clean Energy Future for Detroit

Detroit — Community members suffering from asthma, mercury poisoning and cancer will voice their opposition to Marathon Oil’s plans to expand its Detroit refinery at a public hearing this evening at the Kemeny Center in Detroit. The Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program in Detroit is supporting the community members in their quest for clean energy solutions and their opposition to dirty, outdated technology.

“Instead of making another short-sighted investment in yesterday’s dirty, polluting industries, Michigan should be investing in tomorrow’s clean energy economy, bringing green jobs to Detroit and clean air and water to our communities,” said Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Regional Representative. “Extracting the tar sands harms Native communities in Alberta, and refining the oil harms disadvantaged communities in Detroit.”

Marathon is the only oil refinery in the state of Michigan, and its low-income neighbors suffer from the toxic pollution spewing from the facility and nearby toxic incinerators, coal-fired power plants and assembly plants. Expanding in order to process dirty tar sands from Alberta – which are major contributors to global warming – would impose further suffering on Detroit’s most vulnerable residents.

“Expanding Marathon Oil’s dirty refinery would be another step in the wrong direction for a state that could instead be investing in green jobs and a clean energy economy,” said Dolores Leonard, a Sierra Club member and resident of the Fort-Schaefer area of the city. “Detroiters deserve to be treated better than this, and they deserve the nearly 35,000 green jobs that Michigan could see under a clean energy economy.”

According to the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental activists led by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, a serious commitment to renewable energy would create 34,777 jobs at 2,050 existing firms in Michigan. Governor Jennifer Granholm has said she is trying to make Michigan a leader in developing a clean energy economy, but supporting Marathon Oil’s expansion would be a huge step backwards.

This evening’s schedule includes an informational session from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. followed by a public hearing at 7:00 p.m. Both events will take place at the Kemeny Center, 2260 South Fort Street.