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Mayflower, meet Exxon: When oil spilled in an Arkansas town

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Exxon spill in ArkansasThe incident in Mayflower, 25 miles north of Little Rock, pales in comparison to the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, when hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude spilled from an Exxon oil tanker into Alaskan waters. It's too early to estimate the financial cost from Mayflower to Exxon, but it is likely to be a drop in the bucket for the $400 billion company.

But the spill has stoked a national debate about the safety of carrying crude in pipelines across the United States just as politicians weigh whether to approve the mega Keystone XL pipeline that will help to link the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, with oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

And although significant pipeline spills happen every three days on average in the United States, according to federal data, rarely do they occur in a town and rarely in these volumes.

As efforts to clean up the sprawling mess grew over the Easter weekend, a parallel response was developing behind the scenes, one in which Exxon oversaw every issue surrounding the spill - from sick children at the local school and oiled ducks in the creek, to the residents displaced from 22 homes.

When eight students, who were vomiting and complained of headaches, were sent home from Mayflower Elementary School on the Monday morning after the spill, an Exxon Mobil doctor arrived quickly on the scene. The doctor quelled concerns about the air quality around the school, which is just a block south of the spill site, according to school principal Candie Watts.

TVNL Comment:  They'll buy their way out of this with lunch money....and more pipelines will leak and more peple will be affected.  Many will die.  Every three days, folks.....read the bold print.  Think.  Then, act.

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