The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Detroit Seawall Collapse

Dec 6, 2021

Detroit Bulk Storage leases a site beside the Detroit River for storing bulk gravel offloaded from freighters. On November 29, one part of the site’s seawall bulged out and collapsed.

Michigan’s anti-pollution agency scrambled to put down booms and contain the pollution. The company was fined—four thousand dollars—and given a cease-and-desist order. The very next day, a freighter delivered more gravel, as usual.

Detroit Bulk Storage and Revere Dock, the site’s owner, have plenty of prior violations. In 2019, a bigger section of the seawall collapsed, risking much worse pollution to the river, including radioactivity from old industrial operations there. The collapse was from illegal storage of 40,000 tons of limestone without a permit. The fine for that was a whole sixty thousand dollars. The owner told the Windsor Star, “It’s an incident that happens … when you store gravel. It’s part of how things go.”

The recent collapse was caused by illegally piling gravel within 75 feet of the seawall, instead of obeying the 200-foot limit required in the company’s operating permit.

The government may make laws, but it always makes sure that companies face only pennies in penalties. So yes, “It’s part of how things go.” The government pretends to enforce the laws. The companies pretend they will obey.