Friday, April 12, 2013

Fallout Continues From Pipeline Emergency in Arkansas

Multiple articles continue to discuss the impact of the ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline that spilled thousands of barrels of oil into an Arkansas community, not only on the area of the spill, but on the entire country in terms of how it could influence the Keystone XL pipeline debate.

First, from InsideClimate News:
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.  
When a rupture occurs, so much force is released that large amounts of oil can pour through the breach in minutes.
Read that whole article here.  It is an interesting look at the pressures in these pipelines and what happens when they fail.

From Faun Kime comes an article about one journalist's experience in trying to cover the Arkansas spill:
Where is the EPA or someone from the Department of Transportation (DOT), she asked upon arriving at the table. These disaster response centers are supposed to be jointly run with the EPA and the company responsible for the spill — in this case ExxonMobil. But Song could only find Exxon representatives to speak to; EPA and DOT employees were nowhere in sight. 
Before arriving, Song had tried contacting a representative at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a division of DOT, and someone at the EPA, but her calls had gone unanswered. Now, here she was in the command center, trying to get to the bottom of things. What on earth was going on here? 
Song’s journalistic predilection for asking pesky questions was not well received. Even before a second question could be addressed, Kim Jordan, Media Relations Adviser for ExxonMobil, marched on over and asked Song to leave. Immediately!
That whole article can be read here.

And from RT comes a reminder that the Pegasus pipeline spill in Arkansas isn't the only recent oil spill:
Thousands of gallons of oil have spilled from a pipeline in Texas, the third accident of its kind in only a week.
Shell Pipeline, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, shut down their West Columbia, Texas, pipeline last Friday after electronic calculations conducted by the US National Response Center showed that upwards of 700 barrels had been lost, amounting to almost 30,000 gallons of crude oil.
By Monday, Shell spokespeople said inspectors found “no evidence” of an oil leak, but days later it was revealed that a breach did occur. Representatives with the US Coast Guard confirmed to Dow Jones on Thursday that roughly 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipe near Houston, Texas and entered a waterway that connects to the Gulf of Mexico.
Read that whole article here.

Keystone XL opponents are being given some fine examples to point to as reasons not to construct the pipeline.

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