Exxon Pegasus Pipeline Leaks Again


Exxon Pegasus Pipeline Leaks Again


A month after the 70 year old Pegasus Pipeline cracked and spilled thousands of barrels of tar sand crude into the small town of Mayflower, Arkansas, it has leaked again.

The leak happened about 200 miles north of Mayflower.  Exxon claims it only leaked about a barrel, and is near completing its clean-up.

Mayflower locals are skeptical of Exxon’s claims that the clean-up in their community is nearing completion.  The difference between their videos depicting a meticulous restoration process, and reality, are quite startling.

Workers were shown cleaning up animals with toothbrushes, removing the crude from their feathers.

“The Unified Command cleanup operations continue to transition from emergency response to the longer-term work of remediation and restoration,” reads a press release from Tuesday, comfortingly. The worst is behind us. We got through it. Now watch us release these ten ducks back into the lake.”  And as for those less fortunate animals that didn’t survive the spill, well don’t worry about that: “the majority of the impacted wildlife have been reptiles, mostly venomous snakes.”

What we just read is such a great spin that it could have been delivered by one of our Congressmen or Senators.

And don’t worry about Lake Conway either. The oil was stopped before reaching the “main body” of the lake, one of the most popular fishing and recreation spots in the region.

Except, back in the real world, oil had reached a cove in the lake. “I don’t understand where this distinction is coming from. …The cove is part of Lake Conway,” Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told reporters.

Meanwhile, water tests of Lake Conway are showing a different result.

“Yes, there’s oil in Lake Conway and there’s oil downstream flowing into the Arkansas River,” said Scott Smith, president and CEO of Opflex Solutions, a water quality testing and oil cleanup company.

Exxon also claims the air is safe, but chemicals ranging from benzene, a carcinogen, to toluene, a central nervous system depressant, more than four weeks after the spill were found when tested.

All this continues as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is being debated in Washington.  The highly controversial project would carry 830,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska.  From there it travels to Cushing, Oklahoma, where it will move by seaway to the gulf of Mexico through a pipeline connected to Gulf Coast refineries.

The pipeline will enter the United States in Montana, following a course through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Those in opposition to the pipeline allege the danger of a break in the pipeline is great, and would cause extensive, and sometimes irreparable damage to the environment.  The type of crude coming from the tar sands is highly corrosive in comparison to the “sweet” crude used to refine gasoline.  In addition, the claim that it would create jobs is mostly false.  The refineries are already in place.  The only jobs that would be created are the ones connected with the actual building of the pipeline, and they would be temporary.  In addition, the crude will not add to the American economy because the majority will be shipped to other countries.

Keystone XL would be a boon for the oil companies, and not for the country as a whole.

The operators of the pipeline have delayed construction until as late as mid-2015, due to snags in the legislative process.  Because it passes over international boundaries, the President must authorize or deny it.  Mr. Obama says he is still undecided.

TransCanada is dubious about rising costs.  They have spent 1.8 billion dollars at present.  The finished product was expected to total 5.3 billion dollars.  Delays could dramatically force that figure to rise.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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