The Institute for the Humanities and the Freshwater Lab presented “The Refined State: Tar Sands, Pet Coke, and the Front Lines of Great Lakes Oil Cities*

The event was held on April 19, 2016 at 3 PM, UIC Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, lower level Stevenson Hall at University of Illinois at Chicago.

This program is also free and open to the public.  Please contact us if you plan to bring a class so we can arrange seating.


Before tar sands reach consumers as usable energy, they undergo extensive refining.  Refineries like the BP Whiting Indiana plant or the Marathon Detroit plant are long-standing institutions. Those that have recently been retrofitted to accommodate the shift of energy source.  They sit directly on Great Lakes waterfronts. Despite a well-publicized lawsuit and a refinery strike. All so a few residents or consumers of Tar Sands energy know how refineries operate. I mean or relate to their host communities.

How do refineries impact the economic and political status of their neighbors? How can the neighbors’ concerns be heard by energy executives or, for that matter, by the consumers of oil?

Noah Hall

Wayne State University Law School

Thomas Frank

Southeast Environmental Task Force

Dr. Cecilia Martinez

Director of Research Programs

Center for Earth Energy & Democracy

This presentation was part of the series:  “The Oil-Water Mix in the Great Lakes: Social Contexts & Thirst for Justice”

A lecture series organized by The Freshwater Lab and Professor Prof. Rachel Havrelock, UIC English Department


Supported by the UIC Institute for the Humanities and the Humanities Without Walls consortium. For that’s based at the Illinois Program for Research. For it’s in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The Humanities Without Walls consortium is also funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Fellow Foundation. 

This program was also free and open to the public.

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