In 2013, petroleum coke (petcoke) stored under the Ambassador Bridge blew across the river and into residential areas, causing a public uproar and an international incident. This event was the catalyst for the city of Detroit to draft an ordinance to restrict and monitor storage of bulk solid materials. To help craft their ordinance, a city Councilmember looked to the city of Chicago as the model. While the city of Chicago exempted construction materials, the city of Detroit broadened the definition to include sand, gravel, limestone, asphalt millings as well as blast furnace and steel slag. The ordinance inappropriately treated these products like petcoke. The requirements would have caused catastrophic impacts to Detroit based businesses, employment, and the ability to competitively supply the infrastructure needs in a City that has turned the metaphorical corner. Simply, businesses would have to spend millions to comply or be forced to leave the city of Detroit.
When the MAA learned of this significant threat, we immersed ourselves in the science, the history and the politics. MAA led an all-encompassing coalition to take on the task from multiple fronts. The coalition, listed below, met with various city council members, representatives of the City of Detroit Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, City of Detroit Legal Department and the Mayor’s office. We supported tours of various businesses’ and operations, conducted countless meetings and drafted letters to the key stakeholders with our story.
Carmeuse Lime & Stone
Detroit Ready Mix
Detroit Bulk Solid
Edw. C. Levy
St. Mary’s Cement
Operating Engineers 324
Michigan Teamsters Joint Council 43
Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan
Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan (APAM)
Detroit Regional Chamber
Detroit Port Authority
Michigan Aggregates Association (MAA)
Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA)
Michigan Manufacturers Association
Michigan Concrete Association (MCA)
Lake Carriers’ Association
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
After two years of monthly meetings and numerous correspondence between MAA and various city officials, the city of Detroit City Council formally approved the ordinance as law on October 31, 2017.
MAA is pleased to report that what was once a devastating draft ordinance was defanged to language that is unlikely to harm local business. While there are still some holes to fill, we are pleased that the impacts will not force existing companies to leave the city.
MAA is proud of how the industry bound together to support better legislation and is thankful for their tireless efforts.
Click here to view a copy of the ordinance.