Arkansas Exxon spill much larger than initially thought

Comments from a state attorney general are revealing, but the scope of the disaster is still unknown

By Natasha Lennard
April 11, 2013 9:46PM (UTC)
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As noted here, ExxonMobil in conjunction with Arkansas authorities have taken pains to shroud in relative secrecy the disaster in Mayflower, Ark., after a pipeline rupture leaked thousands of barrels of tar sands oil. Comments from a state attorney general Wednesday revealed that the spill was “substantially larger” than was initially believed, but that the size of the leak still remains unknown. A report from the Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information has revealed that the pipeline rupture caused at least 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude and contaminated water to seep into the Mayflower community.

State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who is launching an investigation into the spill and has asked Exxon to keep all documents relating to the spill and the cleanup efforts, told reporters:

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The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought ... 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 ...

More documents will be received and requested from Exxon in coming days,” he added. “But now everyone’s priority continues to be the cleanup efforts in Mayflower.


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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Arkansas Arkansas Oil Spill Exxonmobil Mayflower Oil Spill Tarsands