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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Exxon Oil Spill In Arkansas Raises Concerns About Keystone XL Pipeline

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Environmentalists and Nebraska farmers are upping the pressure on President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline following an oil spill that took place over the weekend.

The rupture occurred in central Arkansas, about 20 miles north of Little Rock, as Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline spilled thousands of barrels of Canadian tar sands oil — the same Alberta crude the Keystone pipeline would carry. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling it a “major spill” as officials from the EPA and Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are currently conducting an onsite investigation while ExxonMobil continues its cleanup efforts.

The company said more than 12,000 barrels of oil and water, or 185,000 gallons, had been recovered by Sunday. Reports say the line gushed for 45 minutes before being stopped and 22 homes were evacuated.

The Arkansas accident was the second Canadian crude oil spill in less than a week, as last Wednesday a train derailed and leaked 30,000 gallons of crude in western Minnesota.

The 20-inch Pegasus pipeline runs from Illinois to Texas and carries 90,000 barrels of crude per day. TransCanada’s 36-inch Keystone XL Pipeline would stretch 1,179 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with the pipeline system that would carry the tar sands oil to refineries in Texas along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A Media Matters report states that “Keystone is all risk and no reward for America. The fact that Canadians don’t want Keystone built across their own country tells us everything we need to know about the risks.” The report cautions about TransCanada’s poor safety record, citing 12 oil spills in the first year of operation of another section of the Keystone pipeline. However, TransCanada promises that new technology from its Calgary control room can better monitor pipeline pressure and shut off a leak within 15 minutes. But environmentalists say the tar sands pipeline is more vulnerable to leaks because “the diluted bitumen, or dilbit, from the oil sands can separate under pressure or high temperature and create explosive natural gas, heavy compounds, and corrosive acids.”

In an interview about the Arkansas spill, Keystone XL opponent and founder of climate action group 350.org, Bill McKibben, said “the power of the fossil fuel industry in Washington is enormous. They have all the money. The only thing we can stack up on the other side is the power of movements. We’ve been building them as fast as we can. We’ve had the largest civil disobedience action in 30 years about anything, about this pipeline. We had 40,000 people on the Mall last month in D.C. in the largest climate rally ever. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough, but we’re fighting it as hard as we can.”

The president is expected to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by this summer.

Photo: KARK-TV

  • howdidisraelget200nukes

    Maybe we should just move the “white house” into that neighborhood.

    It might bring our “lazy” president back to reality.

  • Unfortunately, environmental preservation has never been a high priority for the oil industry or those who place personal gain ahead of patriotism and humanity.

    • johninPCFL

      Interestingly, the Yellowstone pipeline break occured during the Keystone debate and was never raised as an issue.
      If the world’s largest energy company can’t afford to keep the pipelines that it derives it’s profits from in good repair, why would anyone trust a much smaller company to maintain a pipeline through an aquifer?

      • Independent1

        If anyone is interested in how much destruction oil companies can do to a country, all they need do is do a search on ‘Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the gulf oil spills’ or ‘Mayflower Arkansas oil spill leaves crude running’ ; either of these searches will bring up oil spills links that show that in Nigeria for example, over the past 40 years, Exxon and Shell have had one oil spill after another, devistating large portions of the country that will take decades to clean up, if ever. The XL pipelane across America’s heartland is nothing more than an ecological disaster just waiting to happen – AND IT WILL HAPPEN!! It’s just a matter of WHEN!! Just look at Texas which is rated the state with the most polluted environment in America, because of the many oil spills that have occurred there and because of the dirty air around Houston and other cities in the state with oil refineries and coal fired power plants.

        • johninPCFL

          I took a motorcycle trip a few years ago out through the Oklahoma panhandle. Every farm had pumps running. A few had concrete pads in the fields where pumps had been removed.
          Each pad where the pumps were removed had nearly half an acre of dead zone surrounding it. If a farmer cannot keep his property secure from destruction when the oilco leaves, what chance does a single township along the pipeline? If the largest energy company in the world can’t keep it’s US pipelines, the source of it’s MONEY in proper repair, what chance does a small non-US concern have?

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    When Bush visited Alberta Canada in 2007, Mr. Texas Swagger Swagger Boom Boom was all secretive about the Keystone Pipeline. He sidled up to CanOil in Calgary like it was caviar. He knew exactly what he was doing….setting up a deal that would enrich his and his only state. He knew that dragging 1750 miles of pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to Galveston, through the Sweet Grass MT annual summer wildfire and the Nebraska annual tornadoes weren’t going to hurt Big Rich Texas That Whole Other Country …not a single acre of Texas land was taken by eminent domain as it was in MT and NB. These are two states that can ill afford an environmental disaster or the resulting cleanup Texas won’t pay one cent toward. In 2006, Bush dumped 50% of the then 22 year old Exxon Valdez spill on taxpayers. And then, this cowboy and then Premier Ralph Klein met to seal the Keystone Deal that same year. When Klein visited Bush in 2008, that’s when the first leak about Keystone went public in the US. Anyone who has ever seen the destruction in the Alberta tar sands pit mining and flushing of the oil from the sand knows it takes millions of gallons of water a day for that operation. So, if this is such a safe operation, why then didn’t British Columbia allow it to be piped through that province? Canada’s National Post and the Calgary Sun both were full of articles on this issue from 2005 when it was first proposed to British Columbia. The Oil men in Calgary went ballistic because BC refused to accept such a dangerous pipeline through their province. So CanOil went to Big Rich Texas and Swagger Swagger Boom Boom Bush for help. Now, parts of US land in MT and NB are owned by CanOil thanks to Texas addiction to oil, drilling and piping every drop of oil they can find in the US. Your properties may be next.

    • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

      To make matters worse, Canada let the company running this be sold to the chinese. When you realize that the chinese are the biggest importers of coal from the Koch brothers and that they own the company running the tar sand deal it becomes evident that SOMEONE is more interested in helping those who should be broke up using the Sherman Act than Americans.

      But the President really has no power according to most of the defenders of our “lazy” president. I cant figure out how bush was able to pull off the crap he did except for the fact that he couldnt have done it without Democrat support.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Here is the facts on the potential for environmental disaster. MT….the Missouri River…one single wildfire….a break in the pipeline and the Missouri River and all of its tributaries are slimed with tar sand oil. NB…one wild windy tornado…rips part of the pipeline and there goes the Mississippi River and all of its tributaries. You’ll be drinking a cocktail called water laced with benzene and 20 other chemicals and all it will take is one spill. Can the state of Texas guarantee in writing that won’t EVER happen? You bet your long horns they can’t.

  • I can’t say enough times how WRONG the Keystone is!!

  • jstsyn

    Ask anyone in Nebraska if they would like a fifteen minute spill in the aquifer under their state. Ask anyone along the perspective pipeline if they would like a ten minute spill let alone a fifteen minute one. And just to be a jerk, it can’t do too much compared to the money some CEO will pocket. After all, only the money matters right? To hell with America.

  • there is no good reason to have this running through the USA It is full of risk, terroist target, oil spills, ruined waterways, and higher cost at the pumps for the fuel. Do any of you know this oil then goes overseas to be refined and then shipped back here or to whoever is buyig it? How do any of you think it will save any money at the pumps with this pony ride? It will not.

  • charleo1

    The worst idea since Wall Street came to Congress, and demanded
    less regulation. How long is the U.S. going to be the corporate chump
    of the world?

  • Pamby50

    This spill is to close to home. I didn’t want the Keystone Pipeline before the spill in AR and I really don’t want it now. As I watched Bill Maher friday night, you had Steve Moore & Abbey Huntsman practically cheering for them to build the pipeline. I think they should have to go to Kalamazoo, MI before they continue on with their cheering. It has been 3 years & they still haven’t finished cleaning up that tar sand mess. There are days when people can’t get into their homes or their businesses. Wake up America!! This is not good for us. Let Canada figure out how to destroy their country before they destroy ours.