Update on Arkansas oil spill: Exxon rejects AG request to pay for investigation, offers residents $10,000
Today marks the fourth week of the cleanup in Mayflower, Arkansas, after the Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into a neighborhood and wetland. Here's a collection of news related to the spill from the past week.
On Monday, a 52 foot piece of the pipeline was removed, including the section where the 22 foot gash that was the source of the leak. KATV has video:
There has been debate and confusion about whether the oil that spilled was tar sands oil or conventional crude. Maria Gallucci at InsideClimate News has a good post on what exactly spill out of the Exxon pipeline. Exxon has been careful to not call the oil dilbit or tar sands oil, instead calling it heavy crude. Gallucci explains it is nasty stuff whatever you call it:
Like the other dilbits, Wabasca Heavy contains bitumen blended with a hydrocarbon diluent, usually natural gas liquids; benzene, a known human carcinogen; and hydrogen sulfide, a corrosive and poisonous chemical compound, according to the Cenovus MSDS. Wabasca Heavy also contains at least eight other hazardous constituents, including N-hexane and naphthalene, according to a separate data sheet that Exxon provided to cleanup workers in Arkansas.
Following the spill, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel launched an investigation and requested that Exxon Mobil pay $4 million for the cost of the investigation.
In other financial news related to the spill, KARK reports that another class action lawsuit has been filed. The condition of the pipe is a central piece of the suit:
On March 29, 2013, a section of the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, was in an unsafe, defective and deficient condition presenting an immediate environmental and real property harm.
Meanwhile, Exxon is offering $10,000 to residents of the neighborhood that was flooded with oil.
Compensation information provided by ExxonMobil to residents the company began meeting with Tuesday states each household will receive $10,000 to compensate for disruption and inconvenience.
The information packet says the company will also pay for one whole-house cleaning.
Maintenance for re-landscaped yards, those touched by the oil product, will be paid for up to two months.
For context, this CNN video illustrates how much Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is is paid in 60 seconds compared to a doctor, school teacher or minimum wage worker. Tillerson makes $19.13 a minute, which means that $10,000 his company is offering Arkansans is what he is paid in a little under 9 hours. Via Co.Exist
The spill in Arkansas has been subject of discussion and debate regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In Washington this week, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) says Exxon Mobil should be given a "pat on the back" for how they've handled this oil spill.
Back in Arkansas, Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times published a note from a reader that claimed to have watched Exxon cleanup workers dumping oil-stained coveralls into a dumpster at an Exxon gas station.
Max sees it as a sign Arkansans are paying attention:
Average Arkansas are concerned and they are watching. Exxon can hire all the local cops at fat pay to shoo or even arrest people who get too close to filming unpleasant scenes. It can unleash an army of PR experts to downplay the ill effects of thousands of barrels of Canadian tar sand equivalent oil diluted with who knows what (stuff that is more and more targeted for shipment across the U.S. because British Columbia people don't want the Alberta crude coming through their territory.) It can claim you can use oil booms to prevent migration of unseen elements of this nasty stuff from spreading throughout a related lake, wetland and ecosystem. But all the fracking dollars in all the world and all the enabling political stooges in all the world won't deter whistle blowing average Arkies who know an oil slick (and an oil company slicker) when they see one.
I'll update this post as more information comes in. For earlier coverage, see the links below and to the left of this post.
More on the Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill
Exxon pipeline rupture is 22 feet long, indicating immense pressure, possible criminal negligence.
As Exxon censors local media, citizen journalists document Arkansas oil spill. Can the pros be doing more?
Exxon pipeline breaks spilling 84,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil near Arkansas lake [UPDATED]
Are 'oiled' birds in Arkansas signs the Exxon oil spill has spread to Lake Conway? (UPDATED)
Exxon won't pay into cleanup fund because oil spilled in Arkansas isn't "oil"
Shocking aerial video shows magnitude of Arkansas oil spill, as cleanup continues and frustration at Exxon grows [VIDEOS]
As Exxon cleans oil spill in Arkansas, Shell pipeline spills 700 barrels in Houston
Exxon's Arkansas oil spill has reached Lake Conway, says Attorney General McDaniel
Mayflower, Arkansas "on lockdown" following Exxon oil spill
Arkansas oil spill could be almost 300,000 gallons, video shows alleged "dumping ground" in wetland (UPDATES)