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In the Path of Exxon’s Pegasus Pipeline Across Arkansas: People, Water, Farms (Part 2)

The broken pipe snakes through a crucial Ark. watershed where there’s only one shut-off valve for the line, a fact that is making state officials nervous.

By Sam Eifling, David Koon and Elizabeth McGowan

Sep 4, 2013

The backyards of homes in Mayflower that were affected by ExxonMobil’s March 29 oil pipeline rupture. Clean-up crews were forced to strip away oil-saturated trees, exhume tons of earth and fill the yards with new dirt, leaving an orange clayscape. Homeowners say oil is still visible under their houses. Credit: Brian Chilson

This is Part 2 of a series looking at the people and scenery along the route of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline, which spilled an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy Canadian crude oil into the town of Mayflower, Ark. Read Part 1.

MAYFLOWER, Ark.—At sunset one evening, Ryan Senia, a displaced former resident of the Northwoods subdivision, walks around his side yard, and into a wide orange clayscape. This area used to be backyards, until crude oil swamped it and Exxon’s crews stripped away trees and exhumed tons of earth.

“This is all new dirt,” Senia says over the thrum of a generator powering a tall light. He walks behind a neighbor’s empty home where the remnants of a former yard—a bike, a hose, a lawnmower, a propane grill, part of a birdbath—clutter the back porch. “Come up over here, you can see they’ve dug up under the slab,” he says. “You can see how deep they’ve dug it. So you know the oil is underground.” For the rest of this article please click the link:


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