Dirty Energy & Fuel

Published on March 31st, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan

Oil Running Down The Road, Oil Pipeline Spill In Mayflower, Arkansas

“We can see oil running down the road like a river,” explains a Mayflower resident. Crude oil has leaked and this is extremely unfortunate to Mayflower, Arkansas; damaging neighborhoods, and possibly endangering Lake Conrad. The size of the spill remains unclear. Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated the spill at 84,000 gallons. The EPA and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management did not return calls for comment.

Now concerns for all of the heartland are spreading, and the question as to whether this will mean the final death of the Keystone Pipeline is popping up (but is rather a moot point at the moment for Mayflower and surrounding area residents).

Local police said the line gushed oil for 45 minutes before being stopped. The result was so problematic that evacuations took place.

Arkansas Oil Spill

Present Crisis In Mayflower, Arkansas, Exxon Pipeline Heavy Crude Oil Spill. Image Credit: 350.org

The importance of ongoing issues due to oil leaks and spills is of course a very real issue. Renewable energy industries are ready. They are now cost competitive in with fossil fuels many instances (not even taking the price of pollution into account). With solutions ready, we should be bringing all such potential disasters to a halt, and heeding the educated opposition protesting this toxic mess.

Environmentalists have expressed many concerns about the impact of developing the oil sands and say the crude is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional oil.

On Wednesday, a train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil.

“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.

Misinformed Opposition to Canadian Pipelines?

Robert Redford, Bill McKibben, 350.org, and an educated many more have taken nonviolent action and stood firm on their convictions to prevent more damage to America’s water and ecosystems. Bill Mckibben, Daryl Hannah and good many others have gone to jail for nonviolent demonstrations in the hopes of preventing this horrible compromise to the environment of America’s heartlands. Robert Redford has made videos pleading for environment poise, sanity, and protection from tar sands’ massive sludge pit being piped through the heartlands of the country. The opposition assured the public that Redford, McKibben, Hannah, and supporters were misinformed, misleading and striking fear where there was not need to have any. They assured us that we need not worry, the oil will not leak.


Details of the Pipelines

Inside climate news offers more detailed information on the leak:

Mayflower Arkansas map

Map of Mayflower, Arkansas. Image Credit: Google

The 20-inch Pegasus pipeline runs 858 miles from Patoka, Ill. to Nederland, Texas. Engelmann said the line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude oil from western Canada when it ruptured.

CrudeMonitor.ca, the website of the Canadian Crude Quality Monitoring Program, says Wabasca Heavy is a type of diluted bitumen, or dilbit, from Alberta’s tar sands region. The Canadian Crude Quality Monitoring Program an industry source that provides data on different types of Canadian oil.

Judge Allen Dodson said emergency crews led a “monumentally successful” effort to prevent the Exxon spill from entering nearby Lake Conway, a popular recreational area. First responders set up earthen dams to contain the flow of oil, he said, and crews are working to shore up the protections as rains continue to fall and complicate the cleanup operations.

Because dilbit contains bitumen—a type of crude oil that is heavier than most conventional crude oil—it can be harder to clean up when it spills into water. According to Little Rock’s KATV, a hazardous materials team from the Office of Emergency Management has contained the spill and is currently attempting a cleanup.

The burst pipe is part of the Pegasus pipeline network, which connects tar sands along the Gulf Coast to refineries in Houston. Thousands of gallons of crude oil erupted from the breach around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, spilling through a housing subdivision and into the town’s storm drainage system, fouling drainage ditches and shutting down Highway 365 and Interstate 40. Twenty homes were evacuated, as well portions of the interstate, in order to avoid health hazards from crude oil fumes and to keep stray sparks from igniting the standing oil.

Exxon-Mobil reportedly has a crew investigating the accident. The company released a statement Friday that read, in part: “We are working with emergency responders and local authorities to respond to the incident and are establishing an information line for community support. We regret that this incident occurred, and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this caused.”

The Arkansas pipeline has reportedly been shut off.

Sources: 350.org, Reuters, Inside Climate News

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