What do you do when monstrous piles of dusty black carbon move into your city?

If you’re Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, you issue an order demanding that they be removed. And after that’s ignored, you issue another.

Detroit coke piles
Petroleum Coke Awareness Detroit
What could be lovelier than a sunset over petcoke piles?

The city’s riverfront has been blighted by huge, uncovered piles of petroleum coke since a local refinery began processing Canadian tar-sands oil in November. Just take a look at this video of a black wall of dust being kicked up from the piles:

The petcoke can be burned for fuel, but it’s so dirty that doing so in America would violate clean air laws, so the proud owners of the revolting waste — the Koch brothers, of course — have been trying to sell it elsewhere. In June, a Canadian power plant started taking some of it, but the pile still remains. From a press release issued Tuesday by Bing’s office:

“Today, my administration informed Detroit Bulk Storage that all of the stored petroleum coke material must be moved off site by August 27,” said Mayor Bing. “DBS personnel have assured us that no new materials are being brought onto the site, and all of their activity is concentrated on offsite removal of the pet coke.” …

This move comes after Detroit Bulk Storage (DBS) failed to remove all of the material by August 9 as directed by a Correction Order issued by the City’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) last week. At that time, BSEED cited the company for being in violation of the Detroit Property Maintenance Code and/or Official Zoning Ordinance.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Kochs had already intended to remove the mess this month:

The piles are owned by Koch Carbon and come from the Marathon Detroit Refinery. Detroit Bulk Storage is storing the pet coke on property owned by billionaire and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun and leased to Norfolk Southern railroad.

Koch Carbon announced last month that it is moving the piles to Ohio “to meet our shipment needs.”

Our sympathies go out to Ohioans.