It’s been over five weeks since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline burst beneath a Mayflower, Arkansas subdivision, spilling diluted bitumen born of tar sands throughout the neighborhood. Five weeks later, and still the air carries noxious fumes. Residents complain of headaches, nausea, and worse. Meanwhile…
14 documents found in 0 seconds.
- Achnacarry Castle
- Anglo-Persian Oil Company
- Bank of America
- Bill McKibben
- Canadian Tar Sands
- Chalmette refinery
- Climate Change
- God's Taunt
- HAWK Center
- Henry Deterding
- Income Inequality
- John D. Rockefeller
- Mayflower Arkansas oil spill
- Middle East
- Offshore bank accounts
- Oil Wells
- Open Thread
- Pegasus pipeline
- Royal Dutch
- Saudi Arabia
- Scottish Highlands
- Sermon at the Riverside Church
- Sir John Cadman
- Standard Oil
- Tar Sands
- The Secret of the Seven Sisters
- Wabasca heavy bitumen crude
- Walter C. Teagle
- We're Not Broke
- Wildlife Response Services
- aerial footage
- air quality
- atom bomb
- budget cuts
- chemical spill
- clean up
- dead ducks
- environmental disaster
- exxon pegasus spill
- fair share
- fossil fuel industry
- fossil fuels
- homes evacuated
- injured ducks
- major spill
- no-fly zone
- pipeline rupture
- record profits
- respiratory problems
- secret pact
- tar sands oil
- toxic fumes
- water quality
350.org founder Bill McKibben's sermon delivered on April 28 at the Riverside Church in NYC, on the topic of climate change.
Here are some excerpts from McKibben's inspiring sermon titled "God's Taunt":
...Rather, Job has to answer as all mortals did up until our time, because all of a sudden we've gotten rather large. Our first sense of that sudden change in stature came with the detonation of the first atom bomb at Alamagordo in the New Mexico desert. J. Robert Oppenheimer, watching the mushrooming cloud, quoted from the [Bhagvad Gita], from the Hindu scripture - "We are become as gods, destroyers of worlds."
But the images of those blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were enough to persuade us, so far at least, to go no further down that path, thank god. We could imagine the horror of those titanic explosions. We, so far, have NOT been able to adequately imagine the effect of the explosion of billions of pistons in billions of cylinders every minute of every hour of every day, but those explosions are wrecking the earth just as surely and almost as fast as nuclear war.
Consider that, so far, human beings have burned enough coal and gas and oil to raise the temperature of the planet 1 degree Celsius...the energetic equivalent of exploding 400,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every day...enough energy so far to melt the Arctic...We've taken one of the largest physical features on earth and we've broken it, and with the others not far behind. The oceans are now 30% more acidic...The atmosphere itself, because warm air holds more water vapor than cold, is now 5% wetter than it was 40 years ago, which loads the dice for drought and for flood...
This is the first video in a four-part series, called "The Secret of the Seven Sisters," that reveals how a secret pact formed a cartel that controls the world's oil.
On August 28, 1928, in the Scottish highlands, began the secret story of oil.
Three men had an appointment at Achnacarry Castle - a Dutchman, an American and an Englishman.
The Dutchman was Henry Deterding, a man nicknamed the Napoleon of Oil, having exploited a find in Sumatra. He joined forces with a rich ship owner and painted Shell salesman and together the two men founded Royal Dutch Shell.
The American was Walter C. Teagle and he represents the Standard Oil Company, founded by John D. Rockefeller at the age of 31 - the future Exxon. Oil wells, transport, refining and distribution of oil - everything is controlled by Standard oil.
The Englishman, Sir John Cadman, was the director of the Anglo-Persian oil Company, soon to become BP. On the initiative of a young Winston Churchill, the British government had taken a stake in BP and the Royal Navy switched its fuel from coal to oil. With fuel-hungry ships, planes and tanks, oil became "the blood of every battle".
The new automobile industry was developing fast, and the Ford T was selling by the million. The world was thirsty for oil, and companies were waging a merciless contest but the competition was making the market unstable.
That August night, the three men decided to stop fighting and to start sharing out the world's oil. Their vision was that production zones, transport costs, sales prices - everything would be agreed and shared. And so began a great cartel, whose purpose was to dominate the world, by controlling its oil.
Four others soon joined them, and they came to be known as the Seven Sisters - the biggest oil companies in the world.
The Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group conducted independent tests on the air and water from Lake Conway in response to the Exxon tar sands oil spill, and presented the findings during a Townhall gathering in Mayflower, Arkansas this week. Residents were alarmed by what they heard.
John Hammons lives near an area known as "The Cove," a body of water sitting across from Lake Conway in Mayflower.
"We can smell it. So I know it's there," Hammons said, who is concerned about his three children and wife, who is seven months pregnant.
"She's broken out in hives, had nose bleeds, (and) respiratory problems," he explained.
The Hammons were among a group of concerned people in the area who met for the town hall meeting.
Chemist Wilma Subra said ExxonMobil is being attentive to those inside the Northwoods subdivision, where thousands of gallons of heavy crude oil spilled nearly one month ago, but others in the area have suffered with little attention.
"There's a population all around that's been made very, very sick by the emissions," Subra said.
To evaluate the situation, Subra independently analyzed air and water data captured from the Lake Conway area, claiming the carcinogen Benzene is present in the region.
While Exxon denies the claims, State health officials are saying the same thing as Exxon -- that "all air quality tests returned safe levels for people in the area."
Yet Subra's claims were echoed by Scott Smith of OPFLEX Solutions, a company that offers solutions for absorbing oil. Smith's preliminary findings indicate the presence of tar sands oil in Lake Conway, both in "the cove" of Lake Conway and in the larger lake beyond the cove.
Also, InsideClimate News has reported that the oil spill probe has fallen to an understaffed governmental agency with close ties to the oil industry, including PHMSA administrator Cynthia Quarterman, for example, having served as legal counsel for Enbridge, the culprit in the Michigan spill, before moving to her current position at the federal agency.
You can view a series of recordings taken by an attendee of Mayflower's Town Hall meeting if you just click here.
Exxon's Tar Sands Spill in Mayflower, AR: decided to power-wash diluted bitumen spilled in other areas to a wetlands area, via storm drains. Via Tar Sands Blockade.
Exxon Mobil Corp was working on Friday to remove the ruptured section of its Arkansas tar sands pipeline. Spokeswoman Kim Jordan said the length of the portion being removed from the Pegasus pipeline that ruptured two weeks ago would be determined once excavation to reach it had finished. However, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who launched an investigation into the tar sands spill, said earlier this week that the rupture was more than 22 feet long and two inches wide:
So far, crews have recovered about 28,200 barrels of oily water and about 2,000 cubic yards of oiled soil and debris, according to a statement from ExxonMobil and local officials.
"We still do not know how much oil was released. We still do not know the exact makeup of the crude itself, of the chemical solvents used in the transportation process," McDaniel said. "
Lisa Song of InsideClimate News reports that the 22 foot rupture is nearly 4 times the size of the pipeline tear that sent more than one million gallons of Canadian dilbit into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010, the worst accident of its kind in U.S. history:
The size and speed of the release through a long opening, thin as a mail slot, shines a spotlight on just how quickly oil pipeline accidents can turn into catastrophes. Between 200,000 and 420,000 gallons of heavy oil spewed out of the 65-year-old pipeline without warning on March 29, Good Friday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of 22 suburban homes.
Few Americans realize how much pressure is needed to operate a pipeline like the Pegasus, which moves more than 90,000 barrels a day of crude across four states, from Illinois to Texas. That's almost four million gallons of heavy oil being pushed over an 850-mile distance in a single day.
"People just don't gather how high these things can go," said Richard Kuprewicz, president of the pipeline consulting firm Accufacts Inc. "For the average person, they're just exotic pressures." But if pipeline operators drop their guard, he said, pipelines "can be highly destructive."
However, the fact that the Pegasus ruptured while running below maximum pressure "is not good," Kuprewicz said, because it means something was wrong with the pipeline's integrity management. Pipelines are supposed to be safe even if they operate at slightly above the maximum operating pressure, he said, so the Pegasus line "failed at a negative safety margin."
Recently obtained police transcripts show Exxon employees arrived on the scene in Mayflower an hour after the emergency was first reported by a resident dialing 911, and raise questions over exactly when Exxon became aware of the problem with the Pegasus pipeline.
Exxon...bringing you energy everywhere.
Good morning and TGIF!
Your morning open thread begins below...
America is in the grip of a societal economic panic. Lawmakers cry “We’re broke!” as they slash budgets, lay off schoolteachers, police and firefighters, crumbling our country’s social fabric and leaving many Americans scrambling to survive. Meanwhile, multi-billion-dollar American corporations like Exxon, Google and Bank of America are making record profits. And while the deficit climbs and the cuts go deeper, these corporations -- with intimate ties to our political leaders -- are concealing colossal profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. income tax.
"We're Not Broke" is the story of how American corporations have been able to hide over a trillion dollars from Uncle Sam, and how seven fed-up Americans from across the country, take their frustration to the streets and vow to make the corporations pay their fair share.
The Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill continues to be the source of questions about the long-term health, environmental and financial consequences for residents in a town the state's attorney general described as a scene out of "The Walking Dead."
And even as Exxon was cleans up after its tar-sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas on Wednesday -- and threatening to have reporters arrested -- it spilled an unknown amount of unknown chemicals, possibly hydrogen sulfide and cancer-causing benzene during an accident at the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana.
From The Times-Picayune:
ExxonMobil first reported releasing 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene, a volatile organic carbon compound known to cause cancer, because those amounts are the minimum required for reporting, [Coast Guard Petty Officer Jason] Screws said. But the company has since said it is unsure exactly what chemicals were involved or how much may have been released, he said.
The spill occurred as a result of a break in a pipeline connecting a drum used to store “liquid flare condensate,” with a flare on the refinery site, Screws said. He said the company measured 160 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide and 2 parts per million of benzene in the air at the site of the spill, but has not seen similar readings at the plant’s fence line or in the neighboring community.
Area residents breathed in the chemicals caused by the spill for over a day, leading to reports of breathing difficulties and other ailments. But the Coast Guard told them not to worry because everything was just fine.
"We haven't told the refinery to shut down because we haven't any cause for a shutdown," Zeteza said. "We've no indication that this is dangerous."
The "safety" record of the Louisiana refinery sounds horrid and includes a 36-barrel spill in January, and 10 incidents in which it violated the pollution limits, including an outage caused by Hurricane Isaac during the last 6 months of 2012.
Not too surprising, but the size of the Exxon tar sands disaster in Arkansas grew by thousands of barrels on Friday.
From InsideClimate News:
Since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured and leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas suburb a week ago, the company has maintained that only "a few thousand barrels" spilled at the site.
"We've had no reason to change that at this stage," Exxon spokesman Charles Engelmann told InsideClimate News on Friday.
Reports posted online by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate the spill even higher—at 4,000 to 7,000 barrels—as much as 40 percent more.
Austin Vela, the EPA spokesman at the spill site, said the agency stands by its 4,000 to 7,000 barrel estimate. When asked why those higher numbers aren't being included in the daily press releases issued by the joint command of the cleanup operation, Vela did not respond. The joint command includes five EPA employees as well as ExxonMobil officials.
An update to the article notes that after it was published, Exxon Mobil updated the joint command incident report for Friday, and it now states that approximately 5,000 barrels of oil spilled in Mayflower.
For some perspective on the size of this mess, the report notes that if the EPA's highest estimate of 7,000 barrels is correct, that would make this spill about one-third the size of the Enbridge spill in Michigan's 2010 dilbit disaster.
Exxon is still keeping tight control of the command center even though the EPA is the designated on-scene coordinator. An employee of the oil giant threatened to have InsideClimate News reporter Lisa Song with arrested after she went to the command center in an effort to contact the EPA and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) employees who are working there.
Via Lee Camp: Aerial footage of Arkansas Tar Sands Oil spill.
There are more photos from National Geographic here.
Seems Exxon has some job openings for more people to toss paper towels into the tar sands. From Craigslist:
Oil Spill Cleanup (Mayflower)
Need 40 HR Hazmat trained laborers. Emergency cleanup of oil.
Compensation: Contract / OT.
This is a contract job.
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
What, no experience necessary? Temporary work. Pathetic that Exxon doesn't have experienced specialists in their employ. There certainly isn't a shortage of work cleaning up after this industry. This doesn't inspire much confidence for me as far as what to expect from the quality of the clean up efforts by Exxon...not that I had high expectations to begin with.
"That is oil," Slater said, holding her hand out covered in dark liquid. "That's all oil he [the duck] just pooped. It's going through is GI tract. That's what we have to be on the look out for right now."
It's been an exhausting three days as the first of the animals began to be delivered to the rehabilitation center, but Slater said it's well worth it, especially considering the alternative.
"It feels good to be able to give back to these animals that would have no chance at all ," she said.
The job of washing and treating these animals isn't easy or inexpensive.
"It certainly does cost a great deal more than just some dish soap," she said. "The cost of each bird can go up in the thousands, when you think about food, electricity, and medical treatment."
There's also video with the Hawk Center article that gives a good look at the work involved with treating these birds and other wildlife.
Wildlife paying the price for Exxon tar sands pipeline rupture in Arkansas. Image via the HAWK Center.
Video taken by a resident of Northwoods subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas of oil seeping up from the ground.
The Exxon Pegasus tar sands pipeline, which was shut down on March 29 after a rupture was detected in Arkansas, will need to be excavated as the company looks to determine what caused the breach, a spokeswoman said.
There is still no specific estimate of how much crude oil had spilled, but Exxon said on Sunday that 12,000 barrels of oil and water had been recovered - up from 4,500 barrels on Saturday. Inside Climate News reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated the spill at 84,000 gallons