Monday, April 1, 2013

Heartland Oil Spills are Wake-Up Call on XL Pipeline

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source: Reuters

This Easter weekend, the town of Mayflower, Arkansas, a suburb of Little Rock, had thick crude oil flowing through the streets and into nearby Lake Conway. Most residents didn't realize an Exxon Pipeline ran through their neighborhood, but the evacuated residents won't soon forget it.

In Minnesota last Wednesday, a train derailed spilling 30,000 gallons of crude oil.

These ecological disasters are wake-up calls for people in the heartland to stop the XL Tar Sands Pipeline.

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Ozarks First News
It was not the holiday weekend Mayflower resident Ryan Senia envisioned.

"Basically if it doesn't fit in our car we don't have it right now," said Senia.

His once ideal home on South Starlite Road sits vacant as oil fumes permeate the air. His neighbor Joe Bradley said, "Well we could see oil running down the road like a river."

It's all because of a ruptured oil pipeline owned by Exxon Mobile.

"Supposed to be a 20 inch pipeline that runs from Illinois to Texas."

Bradley knew nothing of the pipeline.

"I had no idea and I'm the 4th or 5th house from it," Bradley says.

On Saturday, county, city and state officials, along with Exxon Mobile, met with residents.

"This could have been much worse," said Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson. Dodson says close to 20 agencies responded within 90 minutes -- stopping the leak. He maintains they did so before any oil reached Lake Conway - a source of drinking water. Exxon and the EPA say they're monitoring air quality - but warn residents with asthma or other breathing disorders to see a doctor. And Resident Darren Hale says there are immediate concerns - like when can residents return home.

"The first one was two days and now I get here and find out two weeks, and finally after taking it to (a state representative), no one knows," said resident Darren Hale.

"We're just concerned about our property values and what Exxon is going to do for us,"

A train carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States derailed in Minnesota, spilling thousands of gallons of oil.

Fourteen tanker cars of a 94-car Canadian Pacific Railroad train went off the tracks near Parkers Prairie yesterday (March 27), according to the Associated Press. Three tanker cars were leaking, and one reportedly spilled most or all of its 26,000-gallon (98,000 liter) load of oil.

Cold weather may have helped minimize the damage from the oil spill, according to Dan Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

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A mile-long train hauling oil from Canada derailed, spilling 30,000 gallons of crude in western Minnesota on Wednesday, as debate rages over the environmental risks of transporting tar sands across the border.

The major spill, the first since the start of a boom in North American crude-by-rail transport three years ago, came when 14 cars on a 94-car Canadian Pacific train left the tracks about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis near the town of Parkers Prairie, the Otter Tail Sheriff's Department said.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, the country's second-largest railroad, said only one 26,000-gallon tank car had ruptured, adding it was a mixed freight train.

CP spokesman Ed Greenberg said he did not know if the crude was from Canada's tar sands or from conventional oil fields.

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