Exxon Cleaning Up Huge Arkansas Spill

Twenty-two homes evacuated

Apr 1, 2013
Outside Magazine

Exxon Mobil is continuing its efforts to clean up a pipeline spill that dumped thousands of gallons of heavy Canadian crude on the town of Mayflower, Arkansas. The spill came from Exxon’s Pegasus pipelines, which carries 90,000 barrels of crude per day (bpd) from Illinois to Texas. The leak was discovered Friday, but not before it forced the evacuation of 22 homes. Exxon has not given an estimate for how much was spilled, according to Reuters, but they claim to have recovered 12,000 barrels of oil and water so far.

Opponents of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry heavy crude from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast, are pointing to the incident as proof that crude from oil sands is more corrosive to pipelines and inherently more dangerous. "Whether it's the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or ... [the] mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment," said Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Last week, a train carrying crude from the Alberta tar sands in Canada derailed in western Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of fuel. Investigations by government agencies into both spills are under way.

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