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article imageNew oil spill from ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline despite shut down

By Anne Sewell     May 2, 2013 in Environment
Doniphan - While very much smaller than the recent Mayflower, Arkansas spill, this new rupture causes even more concern over the aging Pegasus pipeline. (Video update).
Questions about the severity of the recent March 29 oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas are still unanswered. And now there is yet another rupture from the aging pipeline in Ripley County, Missouri, 200 miles north of Mayflower.
While Mayflower residents found 10,000 barrels of oil in their back yards, this smaller rupture only spilled an estimated one barrel of crude. But even so, this is worrying.
According to Reuters, a resident living just outside the town of Doniphan spotted a patch of oil and dead vegetation in their yard and notified ExxonMobil right away.
Luckily with the spill being so much smaller, an Exxon spokeswoman has announced that the cleanup operation is “close to completion.”
It seems there will be no "no fly zones" over the area this time. However, with the Pegasus pipeline being originally built in the late 1940's, it is now a subject of severe scrutiny. Many environmentalists are arguing that the increased corrosive impact of transporting tar sands oil presents a greater concern than other forms of oil.
One thing to be noted is that the pipeline was shut down after the Arkansas spill and this new leak in Missouri occurred despite the pipeline not being in operation.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said on Wednesday, "The release occurred from the installation of a guide wire for a power line pipe that was installed approximately 30 years ago."
"The guide wire was located almost directly on top of the pipeline and has worn down over the years," she added.
Reuters reportedly tried to contact the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), who is ultimately responsible for approving the Pegasus pipeline's restart. Apparently the agency has not immediately responded.
A report was released by the PHMSA which advised that of the approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil involved in the pipeline breach, less than half had been cleaned up by ExxonMobil. The report also mentioned contamination of surface water, accounting for 2,000 barrels of oil located in ditches and a cove south of nearby Lake Conway.
Although the latest report does not appear to indicate that oil has reached the larger body of Lake Conway, an independent study conducted by Opflex Solutions indicates otherwise. See their video above.
Relating to the breach of the pipeline itself, the PHMSA reported that was caused by a “longitudinal rupture” in the pipe seam, which was originally laid down in 1947.
The 20-inch, 858-mile Pegasus line delivers Western Canadian crude oil (or tar sands oil) from the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Illinois to refineries in Nederland, Texas. The thought that other ruptures could occur along this 858-mile stretch is concerning indeed.
Video update:
More about Exxonmobil, Pipeline, Oil spill, mayflower, Arkansas
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