Condemn Burning of Harmful Oil Byproduct

Target: Bob Hanf, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power

Goal: Stop the burning of a harmful oil byproduct.

Residents near the Detroit River have noticed two oceangoing ships stopping by the three-story-high pile of petroleum coke (a byproduct of refining tar sands oil) located along the riverfront. Petroleum coke is a high-carbon, high sulfur product; it is considered to be a significant emitter of greenhouse gases. Petroleum coke is generally used as cheap fuel in countries with loose emissions controls. Peculiarly, one of those ships has made several trips from Detroit to a coal terminal in Sydney, Nova Scotia this year. It appears that a Canadian electrical power plant, owned by Nova Scotia Power has been purchasing and burning petroleum coke to produce electricity.

A Detroit refinery has recently begun processing tar-sands oil sent to the city from Alberta, Canada. The refinery is owned by Koch Carbon, a company that is controlled by Charles and David Koch. Residents and leaders in Detroit have voiced their opinions over the monstrous pile of petroleum coke in their area; legislation has even been introduced that would direct the federal government to investigate the health and environmental impacts of the uncovered waste. In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power confirmed that the company has been buying petroleum coke from the Detroit refinery, citing competitive reasons such as pricing.

The low cost and increasing availability of petroleum coke in the U.S. may make shifting coal-burning power stations to cleaner natural gas more difficult. In addition, the Obama administration is currently reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline; this extensive project would move more tar-sands oil to American refineries and further increase the amount of petroleum coke in the nation. By signing this petition, you are helping to condemn the purchase and burning of petroleum coke by Nova Scotia Power; this waste material can have a negative environmental impact upon the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Mr. Hanf,

In an email, a spokeswoman confirmed that your company has been purchasing petroleum coke from a Detroit refinery in order to produce electricity. Petroleum coke is a high-carbon, high sulfur product; it is considered to be a significant emitter of greenhouse gases. In Detroit, residents and leaders have voiced their opinions over the monstrous pile of petroleum coke in their area; legislation has even been introduced that would direct the U.S. government to investigate the health and environmental impacts of the uncovered waste.

By using petroleum coke to produce electricity, your company is involved in a process that hinders positive environmental change. The use of the oil byproduct makes shifting coal-burning power stations to cleaner natural gas more difficult. Furthermore, since petroleum coke is known to be a harmful pollutant, it could have a detrimental effect on the Canadian climate. In addition, the Obama administration is currently reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline; this extensive project would move more tar-sands oil to American refineries and further increase the amount of petroleum coke in the nation. I am urging you to stop burning petroleum coke; this waste material can have a negative environmental impact upon the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: howlmontreal via Flickr

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