By ALISON SIDER
Crews cleaned up thousands of barrels of crude over the
weekend after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured and polluted an
Arkansas town -- an incident that underscored the fragility of
the US pipeline network.
Exxon said Friday's breach caused a few thousand barrels of
oil to spill into Mayflower, a town of less than 3,000 about 25
miles northwest of Little Rock. The Environmental Protection Agency
called it a "major spill," a category that includes any spill
larger than 250 barrels.
More than 20 homes were evacuated. Other neighbors left to
avoid the smell or breathing problems exacerbated by fumes,
said state Rep. Doug House, a Republican from North Little Rock
whose district includes Mayflower. He added that air monitors
have found the air is safe in most areas.
Exxon said the pipeline, which is buried two feet
underground, has been shut down.
A spokesman for the US Department of Transportation's
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said
Sunday that an inspector was investigating the cause of the
breach in the pipeline.
Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would
ship Canadian crude to the Gulf Coast, on Sunday drew links
between the Arkansas incident and Keystone. Steve Kretzmann,
executive director of nonprofit advocacy group Oil Change
International, predicted more incidents like the one in
Mayflower if Keystone is built.
In a review last month, the US State Department didn't find
major environmental risks associated with
Keystone. The agency said TransCanada had agreed to conditions
to reduce risks of spills or leaks.
Dow Jones Newswires