Residents in Southwest Detroit neighborhood struggle to escape pollution

By Lauren Podell
WDIV Detroit, November 10, 2016

Residents live near Marathon oil refinery

DETROIT – A woman living near the Marathon oil refinery has been working for years to bring attention to what she and her neighbors are forced to go through.

Emma Lockridge said she has wanted to move out of her home for years, but pollution has wiped out her house’s value, leaving her with no choice but to stay. She’s hoping pictures of the pollution will raise awareness of the issue.

Lockridge’s neighborhood has thick smoke in the air. Protestors trying to get their voices heard, and there is pollution everywhere. She said she feels trapped on Deacon Street in southwest Detroit, a community also known as “The Hole,” thanks to its proximity to the Marathon petroleum plant.

“We can’t stay. We can’t leave,” Lockridge said.

She said the people who lived in Oakwood Heights on the other side of the refinery were able to leave after Marathon bought them out. Oakwood Heights is now a green space and garden. It acts as a 100-acre buffer between the refinery and neighborhoods, but it doesn’t include Lockridge’s.

“Well, we don’t currently have any other plans,” she said.

With no buyout plan in site, Lockridge hopes pictures of pollution will show how desperate the residents are for help.

Marathon officials said recent tests show they are only responsible for 2 percent of the emissions in that industrial area, and that over several years, they’ve reduced emissions by 70 percent.