The coke is a by-product of the refining of oil sands and has been piling up quickly at the Marathon refinery in Windsor along the Detroit River.
"Here's a little bit of Alberta," said Brian Masse, one of Windsor's Parliament members. "For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we're now seeing up front and center that we're not," said Brian Masse, a member of Windsor's delegation to Parliament.
Masse wants the International Joint Commission, which oversees the Great Lakes, to look into the storage of coke, The New York Times reported Saturday. Michigan's state environmental agency has asked Detroit Bulk Storage to change its storage practices.
Marathon began processing oil sands in November and already has enough coke to cover a city block, the Times said.
Detroit Bulk Storage is owned by industrialists Charles and David Koch, influential players in conservative politics. A spokesman declined to comment on the status of the material and where it will eventually wind up.
Coke, which is high in sulfur and carbon content, is generally exported for use as industrial fuel, the Times said.