Exxon Mobil Corp. on Monday April 15 removed 52 feet of its Pegasus oil pipeline, which ruptured on March 29, spilling at least 5,000 barrels of crude from Canada’s tar sands into the streets of an Arkansas neighborhood.
The oil giant said in a statement that it would send the section to a third-party laboratory for metallurgical analysis. The Pegasus pipeline can transport up to 90,000 barrels per day, and when it sprung a leak it was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude, a “heavy bitumen crude diluted with lighter liquids to allow it to flow through pipelines,” according to Reuters.
The spill caused 22 homes to be evacuated, and two residents are now suing Exxon and some pipeline subsidiaries, claiming the spill has made their property values plummet. They are seeking $5 million in damages, the website AllGov.com and others have reported.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Barack Obama is probably going to decide on this summer, say the Pegasus spill constitutes a resounding argument against the project. Keytone XL would have a capacity of up to 800,000 barrels per day and would carry crude from the same source.
Further, environmentalists have said that Exxon diverted a portion of the mess into a local wetland, away from homes, and that the no-fly zone instituted over the scene hid the extent of the mess. Exxon also allegedly convinced several area television stations not to run a satirical ad with the theme, “Exxon Hates Your Children.” (Related: Exxon Hates Your Children Satirical Ad Blocked by Exxon in Arkansas—See It Here)
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is investigating the spill and may also sue, according to reports.