New documents show Exxon knew of dangerous contamination from their Arkansas tar sands spill yet claimed area was “oil free.”
On March 29 Exxon Mobil, 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. MORE….
Residents in Mayflower, Arkansas, the site of the recent Pegasus tar sands pipeline rupture, have filed suit against pipeline operator Exxon for health issues and property damage that have arisen since the spill.
Those affected by the pipeline’s spill have complained of numerous, though mild,health problems including headaches, nausea, and breathing difficulties. While these symptoms are relatively mild, it should be noted that it has only been a month since the spill, and more severe problems are likely to creep up in the coming months.
The main concern is that the neurotoxins and carcinogens within the tar sands, particularly those contained in the diluted bitumen (dilbit), will plague the residents for years to come.