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Oil critics pounce on Arkansas spill

April 2, 2013 at 7:56 AM

WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- The pipeline spill in Arkansas serves as a reminder that oil companies aren't doing a good job of transporting Canadian crude safely, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey said.

Exxon Mobil said "a few thousand barrels of oil" were observed near Mayflower, Ark., following last week's release from the Pegasus oil pipeline. The Environmental Protection Agency said the incident meets the characteristics of a "major spill."

Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said pipeline incidents raised concerns about prospects for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

"Whether it's the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or this mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment," he said in a statement.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune expressed similar frustrations. He said the Arkansas incident is a reminder that oil companies can't be trusted to transport "toxic tar sands crude through Americans' backyards, farmlands and watersheds."

Exxon said it managed to remove around 12,000 barrels of oil and water from the Arkansas spill. "Crews are steam cleaning and pressure washing oil from property," it said.

More than 20 homes were evacuated due to the spill. Exxon said the cause of the incident is under investigation.

U.S. pipeline regulators last month recommended Exxon pay up to $1.7 million for a similar incident on its Silvertip pipeline in Montana in 2011.

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