Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coal Pile

Last month I wrote about the controversy surrounding a mysterious black substance

that was piled on the Carbide Dock in Sault Dte. Marie, Michigan. The pile turned out to be coal which is needed for the production of steel at the plant across the St Marys River. The seasonal closing of the Soo Licks made it impossible for the lake freighters to reach the steel plant which sits about a mile away but on the other side of the Soo Locks. 

I checked out the coal today. Although the pile is larger than when I last saw it, local residents tell me it is steadily becoming smaller. Trucks are transporting the coal across the International Bridge. 

I was out taking photos for a story about architecture in the Soo when a string of trucks took my attention. 

These trucks are lining up to be filled with coal. It takes 7 scoops from a front-end loader to fill both trailers and the process takes 10 minutes. This goes on 24/7 all week. 

This process is pumping extra money into the local economy including over $140,000 in Bridge tolls alone. 

Portage Avenue's west bound lane is dark black as well as evidence of coal dust in the adjoining snow banks. I hope that is the extend of the environmental impact on our area and the precious, clean condition of the St. Marys River.