This blog is cross-posted at StewartAcuff.com
There is thick, heavy, sticky, and dangerous oil sands oil running through the streets, yards, and into the storm sewers of a Little Rock, Arkansas suburb resulting from a 22 feet long break in an Exxon pipeline. (See the video above to view aerial footage and comprehend the extent of the damage.)
Exxon, of course, is just one American energy company that pays NO US FEDERAL TAXES.
One of the most curious things about this environmental and human disaster is that, for the most part, the national media is ignoring this crisis – a crisis that should be at the top of the news. It should be at the top of the news, because the oil inundating the neighborhood is the same type of oil sands oil that would be carried across the breadth of America by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The oil gunk flowing through the Little Rock suburb is thick, heavy, sticky tar sands oil that WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO CLEAN UP.
WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT CAUSED THE PIPELINE RUPTURE. There was no earthquake, tremor, or routine road building blast that could have caused this pipeline failure – all eventualities that would sooner or later occur in the area of a massive pipeline running across the breadth of America.
The pipeline that failed was only 65 years old, practically new in the world of energy pipelines. One could surmise or guess that one reason the pipeline failed is that the tar sands oil is so much heavier than the oil and natural gas we typically transport through pipelines.
The Little Rock oil inundation should be a huge and loud wake up call to all of us, especially lawmakers, because it is the same kind of oil that would flow through the very controversial pipeline. Exxon has done a great job rewarding their friends. So far, the Members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation who supported the Keystone XL pipeline before this disaster continue to support XL.
As the tar sands oil spills into the storm sewers, lawns, yards and green spaces of Arkansas, it will surely seep into the water system including the Arkansas River that flows into the Mississippi River.
Kids have been sent home from school complaining of headaches and sickness. Of course, the medical doctors who are part of the 600 member Exxon team sent in to try to contain and clean up the mess and massage the media, say the kids are just too sensitive, that the tar sands oil is not affecting the air quality. Really?
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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
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