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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid