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Article published April 12, 2013
Pipeline spill ignored
Joseph P. McMurry Butler Township
It has been more than a week since a pipeline owned and operated by Exxon Mobil carrying heavy Canadian tar sands oil ruptured in a subdivision of Mayflower, Ark., spilling the heavy, sticky crude onto suburban streets and lawns and threatening a nearby lake. The initial estimate by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was that 84,000 gallons of oil had been spilled; 189,000 gallons of oil and water combined have already been collected at the site. Exxon Mobil has established a “no-fly zone” over the site, under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration, and is strictly limiting media access. Nonetheless, many major media outlets, including the Associated Press, New York Times and Bloomberg, are reporting on what the EPA characterizes as a “major spill.” But a week after the pipeline ruptured, the Butler Eagle had yet to print an article about this event. On April 4, the Eagle published an editorial cartoon about the spill and its likely effects on the Keystone XL pipeline debate, and I noticed in the April 5 Eagle a little “news short” about a building collapse in Mumbai, India, but nothing about the Arkansas oil spill — a week after it happened. I know that pipelines carrying hydrocarbons (in our case, shale gas) are big business in Butler County these days, and that XTO, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, owns and operates many of those pipelines. I feel that an article with major implications to the American public and American energy policy deserves more than political-cartoon mention in the Butler Eagle — certainly as much mention as a building collapse in Mumbai.