Stop Poisoning Low-Income Communities

Target: Gary R. Heminger, CEO of Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Goal: Stop poisoning residents of low-income communities in Detroit by decreasing levels of cancer-causing emissions.

Residents of predominantly black, low-income communities of color in Detroit, Michigan are suffering some of the highest levels of toxic, cancer-causing pollution in the country. This is largely due to a Marathon Petroleum Corporation oil refinery that has a long history of environmental violations and infliction of environmental injustices.

The 250-acre oil refinery has received 15 violations since 2013 from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for surpassing state and federal regulations emission limits. Nine of these violations were received just in 2018. The refinery has also failed three EPA inspections since 2016. Marathon denies these claims.

The refinery is located in Detroit’s 48217 zip code. 48217 is the most polluted zip code in Michigan and the third most in the country. It gradually came to be known as a “sacrifice zone” and a “pollution hotspot,” where respiratory related illnesses run rampant. Locals suffer disproportionately high rates of asthma, cancer, and brain, heart and respiratory disease, as well as miscarriages, infertility, birth defects and cognitive impairments. This is in addition to the many short term impacts of air pollution, including nausea, headaches, vomiting and coughing.

While this zip code is home to several emitters of toxic waste, the Marathon oil refinery is the largest polluter and is responsible for the severe negative health impacts experienced by residents of neighboring communities. Sign below to demand the CEO of Marathon Petroleum Corporation stop violating regulations, work to lower emissions and take responsibility for the harm caused.


Dear Mr. Heminger,

The zip code that the Marathon oil refinery is located in suffers toxicity levels that are 45 times higher than the state average. The University of Michigan’s School of Public Health estimates that air pollution kills more than 650 Detroiters a year. These statistics are largely due in part to the excessive levels of toxic air pollution emitted into vulnerable communities by your oil refinery.

You deny that the Marathon oil refinery has violated regulations for toxic emissions. However, there is clear evidence that residents who live in the communities neighboring the refinery suffer disproportionately high levels of respiratory illnesses, cancer, fertility issues, and a great deal more.

I demand that you take accountability for the air pollution and resulting negative effects caused by the Marathon oil refinery. In addition, I demand that you stop violating regulations and lower your emissions levels in order to protect Detroit communities from sickness and death.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Corey Seeman

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