Southwest Detroit is home to other worldly public art, Mexicantown's famous restaurants and shops, and its proud neighborhoods. But amidst the cultural vibrancy hangs air pollution. Lots of it.
That's because Southwest Detroit has 150 industries, several major highways, and a bridge to Canada. That creates a lot of vehicular and factory pollution. It's sickening and even killing people, and that sickness and death has led to billions of dollars in lost economic revenue.
Unfortunately, the pollution and its effects could soon get even worse. The Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal also exists in the area, a major stopping point for freight trains as they prepare to cross the border into Canada. The major railway that owns it—Canadian Pacific—hopes to buy another major railway—Kansas City Southern—for $25 billion and expand.
Doing so would give one railway access to Canada, the United States, and Mexico. And at all the stops along the way, like Detroit, that means more air pollution in places that already experience so much. Not only will the number of freight cars almost double in Detroit, so will the number of semi trucks.
Some 1,300 miles away is Harris County, Texas, home to Houston. Like Detroit, it has seen heavy air pollution in marginalized communities. Its rail system has caused cancer clusters and heart and lung disease.
All of this has sparked two leading environmental advocates in Michigan and Texas to come together: Michael Dorsey, solar investor, and Zoe Middleton, climate policy expert for Texas county commissioner Rodney Ellis. Join them and Michigan Environmental Council President & CEO Conan Smith as they break the news that few know about and share what must be done.
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Steve and Judy Dobson