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Tar Sands Oil Arkansas #2 (an update, almost all new)

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The Press and Public Are Contained, Even if the Tar Sands Oil Isn't 

By William Boardman  

 
ExxonMobil's Pegasus. by ExxonMobil

Reader Supported News   is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to  Reader Supported News

[NOTE: As of April 11, ExxonMobil is still working to control all news from the Mayflower tar sands oil spill.  Independent reporting is difficult if not impossible.]  

The first "Tar Sands Oil Arkansas" [1](on April 7)[1] discussed a number of questions raised by the  ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline that burst in Mayflower, Arkansas, on March 29, pumping tar sands oil -- technically Wabasca Heavy crude oil -- into a residential neighborhood for almost an hour.

Among the questions touched on in that piece were protecting the pipeline from terrorists, residents suing ExxonMobil in federal court, the nature of Wabasca Heavy tar sands oil, some effects of the spill, and the "martial law" atmosphere described by reporters trying to look at the cleanup site. 

As the second week of toxic air in Mayflower begins, here are some more of the questions it raises and some of the current answers, subject to future refinement.   A reader writes:

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What is the point of origin of the leak? In front of whose house? Why no image of the hole in the ground or in the pipe? Was it corrosion, a weld failure, sabotage by cutting or explosives, or WHAT? Do we have to wait for NTSB for answers? Is Exxon Mobil and their execs too big to jail?

The point of origin appears to be in the woods, behind the houses, and underground.  The absence of images is unexplained. 

Corrosion or weld failure seem to be two likely possibilities for the cause of the leak. 

As reported so far, the spill started quietly, with no one aware of the moment it started.  It's not clear how long it took for someone to become aware, but not too long, presumably. 

The circumstances known so far tend to make sabotage (or inadvertence) by cutting, explosion, backhoe, bulldozer, or other means seem unlikely. 

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Several of the press releases issued by the Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center over the past several days conclude with the statement:  "The cause of the spill is under investigation." 

Since ExxonMobil and its employees have not yet been convicted of committing a crime, it seems premature to consider jailing them.    

Why were the pipeline and the residential subdivision built so close together? 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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