Energy. Environment. Economy.

Arkansas Pipeline Spill Under Investigation

Jacob Slaton/Reuters/Landov

Spilled crude oil in a drainage ditch near the evacuated homes in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Reuters reports on the ongoing cleanup of Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus Pipeline, which ruptured on Friday, spilling thousands of barrels of crude oil in Arkansas:

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas, was shut after the leak was discovered late Friday afternoon in a subdivision near the town of Mayflower. The leak forced the evacuation of 22 homes.

Exxon also had no specific estimate of how much crude oil had spilled, but the company said 12,000 barrels of oil and water had been recovered – up from 4,500 barrels on Saturday. The company did not say how much of the total was oil and how much was water.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has called it a “major spill.”

Environmentalists were swift to criticize the spill as another reason to oppose the further development of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Pennsylvania’s natural gas pipelines have also been a source of controversy.

Just last week StateImpact reported the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted permission for a pipeline project that crosses environmentally sensitive areas in the Delaware River watershed:

The Army Corps is not the only entity to approve aspects of the project, known as the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Upgrade.  Pearsall says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is the lead agency, and would still need to approve the Corps’ permits for construction to begin. But that is likely a formality, as FERC has already approved the project overall.

The Northeast Upgrade would add almost 40 miles of additional pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to transport Marcellus Shale gas to the lucrative East Coast market.

The Lebanon Daily News reports on another proposed gas pipeline expansion through parts of central Pennsylvania:

Houston-based Texas Eastern Transmission, a division of Spectra Energy Corp., is seeking federal regulatory approval to install 33.6 miles of new, 36-inch diameter pipeline and other related above-ground facilities in Lebanon, Dauphin, Berks, Fayette and Perry counties.



  • Vera Scroggins

    there’s always plenty of investigations and we still have “major spills” and problems with this polluting industry !

  • Vera Scroggins

    how old is this Pegasus pipeline — when installed??

  • Tara EC

    It’s wrong to try and draw conclusions about KeystoneXL based on what happened in Arkansas. The Keystone XL pipeline is unrelated to this pipeline spill and the two issues should not be confused. It’s unwise to use a single accident as a means to change our entire national energy strategy. The Keystone XL pipeline is perhaps the most studied trans-border pipeline in history, with more than 50 safety standards that go above the legal requirements, next-generation pipeline technology and a 24-7 monitoring system. Pipelines are still the safest way to transport oil, with the lowest spill rate of any form
    of conveyance. Currently in the U.S., there are 170,000 miles of pipeline transporting
    11.3 billion barrels of petroleum products each year, with only 0.7 incidents per 1,000 miles of pipeline from 2006 to 2008. In addition, 80% of pipeline spills involve less than 50 barrels of oil, with most involving less than three.

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