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

(Newser) – 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.

A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013.
A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
Crews work to clean up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Crews work to clean up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
Workers clean up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Workers clean up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson talks to reporters in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a crude oil pipeline ruptured.
Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson talks to reporters in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, April 1, 2013, days after a crude oil pipeline ruptured.   (AP Photo/Jeannie Nuss)
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