Oil-Soaked Birds Turn Up in Arkansas Spill

Smell permeates town as Keystone debate rages
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2013 6:55 AM CDT
Oil-Soaked Birds Turn Up in Arkansas Spill
A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)

Ten surviving "oiled ducks" and two dead ones have turned up following a pipeline leak in Arkansas, Exxon Mobil says. "I'm an animal lover, a wildlife lover, as probably most of the people here are," says a local judge. "We don't like to see that." The air around the town of Mayflower smells like oil, the AP reports, and two front lawns have been soaked by the stuff. An Exxon rep says there's "no indication" of health dangers, but the spill's cause remains a mystery as Exxon workers clean up.

The company was fined in 2010 for a failure to inspect another part of the Pegasus oil line often enough, Reuters notes. As of yesterday, the company still hadn't dug up the ground around the leak. Meanwhile, the disruption of the line, which runs from Patoka, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, continued to fuel debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. The Pegasus line transported oil similar to what the Keystone pipeline would carry, Bloomberg notes, and there's controversy over whether this diluted bitumen is more corrosive than regular crude. Last year saw 364 US pipeline spills totaling 54,000 barrels. National Geographic has more photos of the latest spill. (Read more Arkansas stories.)

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