April 4, 2013
Arkansas Tar Sands Spill a Preview to Keystone XL
"Thanks" to ExxonMobil, dozens of Arkansas families were forced to spend their weekend breathing in toxic chemicals like benzene from their own backyards. 84,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude from Exxon's latest pipeline spill poured down the street and continue to threaten Lake Conway. Officials have no idea when it will be safe for residents to return home.
Keystone XL would carry nine times more tar sands than the broken Arkansas pipeline.
Big Oil's track record speaks for itself. A similar tar sands spill happened in Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010, and nearly 3 years later, it still hasn't been fully cleaned up. Families faced toxic health effects for months, and some even lost their pets.
Extreme fossil fuels mean extreme risks - enormous public risk for enormous private profit. This was actually the second tar sands spill in the same week, and comes right as ExxonMobil was fined nearly $2 million for yet another 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River.
When it comes to tar sands, spills and other painful accidents aren't a matter of "if," but "when." For the residents of Mayflower, Arkansas, "when" was a holiday weekend evacuation.
Enough is enough. We can stop the tar sands by stopping new tar sands infrastructure.
I'm a Master Naturalist and an outdoor enthusiast -- mostly kayaking, and I live on a Peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay. I'm the author of The Nature Fan, Nature Fan Activists, Green Earth Almanac, and Amanda's Geographic. Formerly, I ran the nationally syndicated column "National Green Activism" for The Examiner, and I was a key factor in the success of many campaigns. Make sure you don't miss a post, and subscribe by email! Thanks for reading.