ExxonMobil Pipeline Spills Again

Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 06:05 PM gHale

The same ExxonMobil pipeline that ruptured in a Mayflower, AR, residential neighborhood now spilled in Missouri — even after the pipeline shut down.

The 70-year-old Pegasus pipeline, which released thousands of barrels of tar sands oil in Arkansas March 29, has now caused another, smaller incident in Ripley County, MO, 200 miles north of Mayflower.

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A resident notified ExxonMobil after spotting a patch of oil and dead vegetation in their yard outside the town of Doniphan.

Unlike the spill that is still ongoing in Mayflower, the latest breach seems to be smaller, with an estimated one barrel of crude oil leaking. An Exxon spokeswoman said the cleanup operation in Mayflower was “close to completion.”

Originally built in the late 1940s, the Pegasus pipeline is now the subject of scrutiny, as environmentalists argue the increased corrosive impact of transporting tar sands oil presents a greater concern than other forms of oil.

Also remember, the pipeline shut down following the Arkansas spill, and leaked in Missouri despite being out of operation.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is ultimately responsible for approving the Pegasus pipeline’s restart.

On April 26 the PHMSA released a report on the Mayflower spill that gave more details. Of the approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil involved in the pipeline breach, ExxonMobil cleaned up less than half.

The report also pointed to the contamination of surface water, accounting for 2,000 barrels of oil located in ditches and a cove south of nearby Lake Conway. Though the latest report does not indicate oil reached the larger body of Lake Conway, an independent study conducted by Opflex Solutions indicated otherwise.

As for the breach of the pipeline itself, according to the PHMSA that was caused by a “longitudinal rupture” in the pipe seam, originally laid down in 1947. The 20-inch, 858-mile Pegasus line delivers Western Canadian crude oil (or tar sands oil) from the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Illinois to refineries in Nederland, Texas.

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