Exxon Mobil Oil Spill in Arkansas

 

The Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured on Friday, leaking an estimated 4500 barrels (189,000 gallons) of oil into a subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas – less than 30 minutes from Little Rock. There are conflicting reports on the source and type of oil that was spilled, with some environmentalists claiming this to be a Canadian tar sands pipeline and Exxon simply stating that the pipeline originates in Illinois.

If it turns out the Pegasus pipeline is in fact transporting tar sands oil, this spill could bring more attention to the environmental risks that tens of thousands of protesters rallied over in February, calling for Obama to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Keystone XL would extend an existing pipeline (which currently runs from Alberta, Canada to Oklahoma) in two directions: from Alberta to Kansas, and from its endpoint in Oklahoma all the way to the Gulf Coast of Texas, totaling an additional 1700 miles of pipe.

Creative Commons image "Exxon" courtesy of Minale Tattersfield Roadside Retail via Flickr

Creative Commons image “Exxon” courtesy of Minale Tattersfield Roadside Retail via Flickr

Regardless of the source or type of oil flowing through the streets and stormdrains of Mayflower, people have been evacuated from their homes – and Lake Conway, which borders a state wildlife management area, is at risk for contamination – until the mess is cleaned up. More details will surely become available on the Arkansas spill as the cleanup progresses, but as of Saturday night local news stations and blogs were the best source of information; only brief updates from AP and Reuters could be found on any major news networks.  Today NPR and CBS have picked it up as well.

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