Exxon Oil Spill renews debate over Keystone pipeline
The US state of Arkansas has launched an investigation into the rupture of an Exxon Mobil oil pipeline that spilled thousands of barrels of crude.
Between 3,500 and 5,000 barrels of oil were released from the Pegasus pipeline last friday. The BBC has repoted that black crude oil was seen soaking lawns and streaming down residential streets in Mayflower, north of the state capital, Little Rock. The rupture prompted the evacuation of 22 homes, with police enforcing a blockade around the spill.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the company to keep all documents pertaining to the spill whilst the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued an order preventing Exxon Mobile from restarting operations on the affected segment of the pipe until it had signed off on the repair work.
"This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas's natural resources," Mr McDaniel said.
The clean-up has been hampered by rain which, it is feared, will carry oil sheen towards nearby Lake Conway, a popular destination for bass, catfish, bream and crappie fishing.
The authorities have built barriers of rock and dirt to stop the oil from contaminating the lake, and Exxon Mobil put booms into the lake as a precaution.
The spill has renewed debate over a proposal to build another pipeline from western Canada to the US Gulf Coast. Canadian oil company TransCanada has proposed building a 1,700-mile (2,735km) pipeline called Keystone XL to carry crude from Alberta, Canada's tar sands region to refineries in Texas. The project has encountered stiff opposition from environmental groups.
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