Tag Archives: arkansas

Greenpeace FOIA Exposes Exxon Lies About Mayflower, AR Spill

26 May

The cove of Lake Conway which Exxon claimed was “oil-free”

Cross Posted From GreenPeace Blog

On March 29 ExxonMobil, the most profitable company in the world, spilled at least 210,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil from an underground pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas. The pipeline was carrying tar sands oil from Canada, which flooded family residences in Mayflower in thick tarry crude. Exxon’s tar sands crude also ran into Lake Conway, which sits about an eighth of a mile from where Exxon’s pipeline ruptured.

A new batch of documents received by Greenpeace in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has revealed that Exxon downplayed the extent of the contamination caused by the ruptured pipeline. Records of emails between Arkansas’ DEQ and Exxon depict attempts by Exxon to pass off press releases with factually false information. In a draft press release dated April 8, Exxon claims “Tests on water samples show Lake Conway and the cove are oil-free.” However, internal emails from April 6 show Exxon knew of significant contamination across Lake Conway and the cove resulting from the oil spill.

When the chief of Arkansas Hazardous Waste division called Exxon out on this falsehood, Exxon amended the press release. However, they did not amend it to say that oil was in Lake Conway and contaminant levels in the lake were rising to dangerous levels, as they knew to be the case. Instead, they continue to claim that Lake Conway is “oil-free.” For the record, Exxon maintains that the “cove,” a section of Lake Conway that experienced heavy oiling from the spill, is not part of the actual lake. Exxon maintains this distinction in spite of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel saying unequivocally “The cove is part of Lake Conway…The water is all part of one body of water.” Furthermore, Exxon water tests confirmed that levels of Benzene and other contaminants rose throughout the lake, not just in the cove area.

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Exxon’s Pegasus Pipeline Spills Again

1 May

by Edward McAllister and Robert Gibbons, Cross Posted from South Bend Tribune:

Spilt oil from Exxon pipeline runs between homes in North Woods Subdivision in Mayflower, Ark in early April. More oil from the same pipeline also spilled Tuesday in a yard in Missouri. (Reuters)

Spilt oil from Exxon pipeline runs between homes in North Woods Subdivision in Mayflower, Ark in early April. More oil from the same pipeline also spilled Tuesday in a yard in Missouri. (Reuters)

Exxon Mobil Corps near 70-year-old Pegasus oil pipeline spilled a small amount of crude on Tuesday into a residential yard in Ripley County, Missouri, a month after the same pipe spewed thousands of barrels of crude in Arkansas.

A resident notified the company of the spill after spotting a patch of oil and dead vegetation seven miles south of Doniphan in the southeast of the state, Exxon and state officials said on Wednesday.

About one barrel of crude leaked and the cleanup is “close to completion”, an Exxon spokeswoman said.

Tuesday’s spill occurred 200 miles north of Mayflower, Arkansas, where about 5,000 barrels of crude spilled from the Pegasus pipe into a residential area on March 29, prompting a giant clean-up operation that is still ongoing.

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Some Oil Spill Damage Can’t Be Cleaned Up

20 Apr

by Grayson / Earth First! Newswire

OilDamageCan'tBeCleaned

Photo from evelynwithoutoil.blogspot.com

A recent article in Newsweek outlines the shocking health problems, including neurological damage, that workers and residents at the 2010 BP oil spill disaster site have suffered in the three years since the incident. Considering the insane amount of oil spills that have taken place in the last couple months, it was too relevant to ignore.

As Newsweek writes, one victim of the spill, Jamie Griffin, was feeding cleanup crews during the disaster. Representatives from BP told Jamie that the oil tracking into her workspace was “safe,” and that she should “just mop it up,” which she attempted to do, having no idea the pain it was going to cause:

Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. . . Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. . . The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”

“These are the same symptoms experienced by soldiers who returned from the Persian Gulf War with Gulf War syndrome,” says Dr. Michael Robichaux, a Louisiana physician and former state senator, who treated Griffin and 113 other patients with similar complaints. As a general practitioner, Robichaux says he had “never seen this grouping of symptoms together: skin problems, neurological impairments, plus pulmonary problems.”

Cleanup workers were not the only victims; coastal residents also suffered. “My 2-year-old grandson and I would play out in the yard,” says Shirley Tillman of the Mississippi coastal town Pass Christian. “You could smell oil and stuff in the air, but on the news they were saying it’s fine, don’t worry. Well, by October, he was one sick little fellow. All of a sudden, this very active little 2-year-old was constantly sick.”

Much of this pain and suffering was not caused by the oil alone, but by BP’s response to the spill; as if allowing hundreds of thousands of barrels of deadly crude oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t enough, many of you may remember that BP used a “dispersant” to “clean-up” (read: hide) the oil. The dispersant they used was Corexit, a substance that has now been found to make crude oil 52 times as toxic. Corexit is still a standard dispersant used for oil spill cleanups, as it is approved for use by the Oil Pollution Act. This dispersant likely played a large role in the physical and neurological damage workers and volunteers are still suffering today.

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Exxon’s Duck-Killing Pipeline Won’t Pay Taxes To Oil Spill Cleanup Fund

3 Apr

Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near evacuated homes near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Arkansas March 31, 2013 (Reuters / Jacob Slaton)

from Think Progress

A technicality has spared Exxon from having to pay any money into the fund that will be covering most of the clean up costs of its Arkansas pipeline spill.

The cleanup efforts themselves took a sobering turn as crews found injured and dead ducks covered in oil.

The environmental impacts of an oil spill in central Arkansas began to come into focus Monday as officials said a couple of dead ducks and 10 live oily birds were found after an ExxonMobil Corp. pipeline ruptured last week.
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Hydrofracking in Ozark National Forest, Arkansas, Challenged

20 May

A view of a bluff in the 1.3 million acre Ozark National Forest

 

Reported by: KARK 4 News

 

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Little Rock to prevent gas drilling under Greers Ferry Lake in north central Arkansas and in the Ozark National Forest in northwest Arkansas.

Those bringing the suit against three agencies of the United States government are a large group of environmental organizations and individuals from across north Arkansas. Their filing seeks to stop all drilling until studies have been conducted to comply with applicable environmental laws and to demonstrate that hydraulic fracturing of gas wells is not potentially harmful to the environment.

The complaint filed by the plaintiffs alleges that there is already gas drilling taking place in the Ozark National Forest, and that the number of wells is far in excess of estimates made in 2005 by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for leasing gas on government-owned lands. These wells use the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which forces large volumes of water mixed with chemicals into underground formations to improve gas production.

The suit claims that the drilling activities will severely damage the National Forest, and that the effects of the “fracking” process upon surface and ground waters, the air and other parts of the environment are unknown and uncertain, and should be studied more thoroughly before being used in the Forest.

The plaintiffs allege that BLM and the U.S. Forest Service have violated the law by not having conducted environmental impact statements and Resource Management Plans for the Forest area as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Regarding Greers Ferry Lake, the suit states that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued licenses to natural gas companies to conduct seismic surveys at Greers Ferry Lake of underground formations beneath the lake and surrounding public lands that could yield natural gas. Three licenses for seismic surveys have been issued, and work on two of them have been completed. Work on the third license, issued in October, 2010, is currently underway, and the suit alleges that plaintiffs anticipate that drilling activity under the Lake will occur following completion of the seismic work.

The suit asks that the Federal Court enjoin Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the Corps of Engineers from issuance of any additional gas leases until environmental impact statements and resource management plans have been completed and approved; and that BLM be ordered to halt any activities being conducted by any persons under any gas leases already issued by it in Arkansas.

The plaintiffs are represented by Richard H. Mays of the Mays & White law firm in Heber Springs.  Mays has been involved in a number of high-profile environmental cases in Arkansas.

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