Exxon controls skies over Arkansas oil spill

The oil giant can deny permission to journalists, observers in fly zone over tar sands disaster

Published April 4, 2013 2:19PM (EDT)

DeSmog Blog's Steve Horn Thursday drew attention to an interesting detail in the Arkansas ExxonMobil oil spill story. He notes, "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a 'no fly zone' in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place 'until further notice,' according to the FAA website and it's being overseen by ExxonMobil itself."

This means that any journalists or observers wishing to survey the tar sands disaster and cleanup efforts must ask the Pegasus pipeline owner for permission. Via Horn:

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the FAA site noted earlier today that "only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff" were allowed within the designated no fly zone.

Suhrhoff is not an FAA employee: he works for ExxonMobil as an "Aviation Advisor" and formerly worked as a U.S. Army pilot for 24 years, according to his LinkedIn page.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Arkansas Arkansas Oil Spill Big Oil Exxon Mobil Keystone Xl Pipeline Pegasus Tar Sands