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Articles by Midwest fellow Jena Brooker

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Residents protest the construction of a new auto-manufacturing facility in southeast Detroit.

Over the last few months, Tanisha Burton has developed respiratory issues for the first time in her life. Her shortness of breath landed her in the emergency room in April, where she was prescribed an Albuterol inhaler to manage the problem. Burton lives on Beniteau Street, located in southeast Detroit. Outside her back door is the recently expanded Detroit Assembly Complex — a massive auto-manufacturing facility consisting of two assembly lines pumping out Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos. 

Burton says the onset of her respiratory issues coincided with the start of construction to expand the plant, which includes the first new auto assembly line in Detroit in 30 years. 

Respiratory issues aren’t the only thing that has changed in Burton’s life during the expansion. An insurance appraiser recently pointed out that the foundation of her home had moved, likely due to the vibrations and shaking produced by the nearby facility. There’s also a constant foul smell, she said, and noise that wakes her up at all hours of the night. It is almost like “you can smell the pollution in the air,” Burton said, “and I hate wak... Read more

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