On Friday afternoon, residents in the town of Mayflower, Arkansas were forced to evacuate their homes when an Exxon-Mobil pipeline ruptured. The spill also closed down sections of Highway 365 and Interstate 40. Officials are concerned that the spill may reach Lake Conway.
The burst pipe is part of the Pegasus network of pipelines that connects the tar sands along the Gulf of Mexico to Houston, Texas refineries.
The pipeline has been shut down, however, thousands of gallons of crude oil has flooded residential streets, causing health hazards from the fumes and a serious fire danger.
Exxon-Mobil has a crew investigating the spill and the company has released a statement that says in part, “We are working with emergency responders and local authorities to respond to the incident and are establishing an information line for community support. We regret that this incident has occurred and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this has caused.”
The local television station KATV was told by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission that Pegasus is an interstate pipeline, and as such, has no local control, oversight or inspection. Only federal officials from the Pipeline and Hazard Material Safety Administration are authorized to inspect and maintain the pipeline.
Now picture this: The Keystone Pipeline is completed and running through the heart of the country’s farm region. And then there is a rupture. What else needs to be said?