News / USA

    Arkansas Opens Probe Into Exxon Pipeline Spill

    A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, Apr. 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
    A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, Apr. 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
    Reuters
    Arkansas on Tuesday launched an investigation into Exxon Mobil Corp's ruptured crude pipeline that released thousands of barrels of oil into a housing development last week, just as forecast rain was expected to complicate clean up efforts.

    Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked Exxon to preserve all documents and information related to Friday's spill and ongoing recovery at the site in Mayflower, Arkansas, about 20 miles northeast of Little Rock.

    "This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas's natural resources. Homeowners have been forced from their homes," McDaniel said in a statement.

    Requesting that Exxon secure the documents is the "first step in determining what happened and preserving evidence for any future litigation," he said.

    The spill from Exxon's 1,381 km Pegasus line, which covered lawns and snaked down residential streets, forced the evacuation of 22 homes as police blockaded the affected area. The strong smell of oil, which resembled asphalt, permeated the town far beyond the affected area, a Reuters witness reported on Monday.

    The incident has received widespread attention and stoked a national debate about the safety of carrying rising volumes of heavy crude from Canada into the United States.

    Some environmentalists have used the incident to illustrate why pipelines, such the proposed Keystone XL line that would carry Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, should not be built.

    Exxon spokeswoman Kim Jordan said the company will ``cooperate fully'' with any investigation.

    Rain to complicate clean-up

    The company was developing a plan to excavate, remove and replace the ruptured portion of the near 65-year-old line, which transports Canadian crude oil from Illinois to Texas. Excavation is crucial in determining the cause of a pipeline spill.

    Meanwhile, rain, which is forecast for Tuesday afternoon and expected to remain on and off for at least two days, may complicate efforts to clean up the spill, which is not far from Lake Conway, a popular fish and wildlife area stocked with bass, catfish, bream and crappie.

    Local responders that included firemen, city employees, county road crews and police built dikes of dirt and rock which stopped crude from fouling the lake, said Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson on Sunday.

    Exxon later deployed 3,600 feet of boom near the lake as a precaution.

    Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said that rain will not hamper clean-up efforts, but there was the potential for rain to carry some of the oil sheen towards the lake.

    "Our big focus is to keep it from moving from the ground to the lake,'' Jeffers said.

    The pipeline remained shut on Tuesday, and Exxon had yet to speculate on how long repairs would take and when the pipeline might restart.

    Exxon said on Monday that a plan to allow residents to return to their homes was under development. In the meantime, Mayflower police were providing escorts for affected residents to briefly go to their homes to retrieve personal items.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.