DETROIT (FOX 2) - "Clean air now, clean air now."
That's the chants that were coming from protesters Friday outside the Office of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Michigan's department mandated with overseeing the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit.
They're demanding that state officials hold the company accountable for polluting the air
"We want Governor Whitmer to be as strict on Marathon as she is on e-cigarettes and we want answers and accountability," said Justin Onwenu, an environmental justice organizer with the Sierra Club.
The call comes after the company reported an unintentional release of vapor that took place on Thursday. But the company also said its air quality monitors reported no breach of safe emission levels.
That's not what protesters said however.
"The workers who were exposed to toxic pollution, who were asked to evacuate, two of whom were hospitalized and us left without any answers," said Michelle Martinez, of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition.
Activists said it's not the first time the Marathon Oil refinery has released pollution into the air in southwest Detroit, and they're afraid it won't be the last.
"Communities of color all over the state of Michigan are bearing a disproportion burden of this toxic pollution," said Martinez.
The legal community is also demanding accountability
"It is a violation of permits. It is a violation of air quality standards in state of Michigan and we're demanding action from EGLE to step up (and) assess appropriate fines," said Nick Schroeck, an associate professor with the University of Detroit Mercy school of law.
In a statement Marathon said their record for improving the air quality of the neighborhood is unequaled and have invested more than $350 million dollars since 2014 alone in enhancements to the Detroit Refinery.
Protesters framed the issue as one of environmental injustice, and not one that's anti-business.
"But we are anti-harm for communities that live within yards of Marathon," said Theresa Landrum, who lives near the refinery.