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Exxon Oil Spill Heavily Damages Arkansas Suburb

Apr 5, 2013

An estimated 3,500 to 5,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from a broken Exxon oil pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, last week, displacing 22 families and leaving the area in need of major cleanup and restoration work.

“That neighborhood was like a scene from ‘The Walking Dead,’” state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said on Wednesday after visiting the Little Rock suburb, “[T]there was not a soul in sight other than people in Hazmat suits,” the New York Daily News reported.

ExxonMobil is investigating what caused the March 29 rupture in the 65-year-old Pegasus pipeline, which carries oil from southern Illinois to the Texas Gulf Coast. The attorney general’s office is conducting its own investigation, the Daily News said. The oil just missed pouring into a nearby lake that serves as the town’s water source.

Officials reported that in addition to the displaced families, wildlife was also affected, with at least 16 oily birds, seven turtles, nine reptiles, a beaver and a muskrat recovered for treatment, according to the Daily News. At least seven ducks died from the spill.

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and water have been sucked up so far, and crews have begun removing affected vegetation and soil. The displaced families received $1,800 from ExxonMobil for temporary relocation expenses. The company said it will pay all cleanup costs and will compensate residents for damage claims. Total costs have not yet been determined.

In 2010, ExxonMobil was fined for not inspecting another portion of the Pegasus line often enough. This latest spill raises questions about aging pipelines in the U.S., and safety and spill concerns when new lines are laid, the Daily News noted.

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