Monday, September 30, 2013

Mayflower, Arkansas -- Pipeline Dilbit Spill Aftermath

From:  Sky Truth

When Exxon's Pegasus oil pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29, it flooded streets and homes in a pretty suburban subdivision with dilbit -- that's "diluted bitumen." Bitumen is a sticky, heavy precursor to oil; it's the stuff that is being extracted from the vast tar sands mining operations up in Alberta, Canada.  The bitumen is diluted with lighter hydrocarbon liquids that essentially act as solvents so it can flow through the pipeline. 

A similar pipeline rupture in Michigan in 2010 flooded the Kalamazoo River with dilbit, a substance that -- unlike crude oil -- sinks rather than floats, making the cleanup significantly more difficult and expensive

The Mayflower cleanup has also been a prolonged and contentious operation, with local residents reporting illnesses in the aftermath, and disagreement about exactly what areas have been impacted.

This series of before-and-after pairs of high-resolution images of the Mayflower area yields some clues.  The "before" imagery is aerial survey photography from Google Earth that was taken on September 4, 2010.  The "after" imagery (provided to us courtesy of Sierra Club Arkansas Chapter) was shot from DigitalGlobe's Worldview-2 satellite on July 31, 2013, four months after the spill. Some changes are easy to see: large light brown areas of bare soil show where excavation and soil removal occurred; and a notable loss of aquatic vegetation in a cove that empties into Lake Conway.  

Before: overview, September 2010, showing area of March 2013 pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.
After: overview, July 2013. Image courtesy of Sierra Club Arkansas Chapter.
Before: Detail 1, September 2010, showing subdivision at lower left (next to SkyTruth logo) that was flooded with dilbit during March 2013 spill.  Pegasus pipeline right-of-way cuts diagonally across the left (west) side of the image; two long driveways at the end of the cul-de-sac at the northwest corner of the subdivision lie directly on top of the pipeline.
After:  Detail 1, July 2013, showing subdivision.  Light brown patches on north side of the subdivision probably shows area of soil that was excavated and removed as part of the cleanup operations.  Oil flowed from west to east, toward Lake Conway.  
Before:  Detail 2, September 2010, showing end of cove and wetlands where spill apparently entered Lake Conway.
After:  Detail 2, July 2013.  Floating booms (thin, pale light lines) are strung across the cove in attempt to intercept the dilbit. Turbid, open water and very pale green area (newly planted grass?) suggest impact to wetlands and aquatic vegetation in this area.
Before: Detail 3, September 2010, showing area where cove meets main body of Lake Conway (upper right).
After: Detail 3, July 2013. More booms are apparent, as are distinct changes in water color that can indicate variations in the presence of turbidity, algae, or other substances. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Billionaire Tom Steyer Launches Campaign to Rally Obama Supporters Against Keystone XL Pipeline - VIDEO Mayflower residents

From: EcoWatch 

We Love Our Land

Yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, clean energy philanthropist Tom Steyer, President of CE Action, unveiled We Love Our Land, a first-of-its-kind digital campaign to engage President Barack Obama’s online supporters, including Organizing for America members, in helping the Administration protect the public interest by rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Tom Steyer announces the We Love Our Land campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A jar of tar sands oil sits on the podium. Photo credit: Samuel Hurd.
“President Obama is very smart. He understands our energy and climate crisis,” said Steyer. “The arguments for Keystone were a house of cards, and that house collapsed weeks ago when local Canadian government officials withdrew their support for a Keystone alternative coming across their lands. We want voters to know the pipeline doesn’t stand up against serious scrutiny. We’re betting that they can help the President make the right decision and reject Keystone.”
The digital campaign, which will run through next Labor Day, will use online petitions, videos and coordinated days of online action led by progressive bloggers who will be joining this effort, to rally the President’s core supporters across Facebook and Twitter.
To demonstrate the dangers of the Keystone pipeline to American communities along its proposed route, Steyer commissioned the first-ever chemical analysis of tar sands oil collected from the March 2013 spill in Mayflower, AR. An independent laboratory analysis conducted by Environmental Working Groupfound seven highly toxic substances: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, xylene, chromium and lead. Rev. Ron Stief of the United Church of Christ poured out a sample of the oil to give attendees an idea of what it might be like to have the thick, sticky noxious-smelling substance spilled in their community.

Rev. Ron Stief of the United Church of Christ pours out a sample of tar sands oil for press conference attendees. Photo courtesy of Sierra Club.
Steyer also premiered a video featuring testimonials from the Mayflower community to highlight the health and environmental damage that spilled tar sands oil has caused to their community.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Area Immediately Impacted in Mayflower

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Mayflower residents learn about possible legal action

FCCAG hosts second town hall

May 29, 2013 - 1:41pm

David Lincoln, environmental geologist with Sierra Club, hosts a video conference with lawyer Jan Schlichtman at the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group town hall meeting May 29. Schlichtman spoke about Qualified Settlement Funds.
David Lincoln, environmental geologist with Sierra Club, hosts a video conference with lawyer Jan Schlichtman at the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group town hall meeting May 29. Schlichtman spoke about Qualified Settlement Funds.


Sixty days after the ExxonMobil Pegasus Pipeline broke, spilling barrels of Wabasca crude oil into the Mayflower community, the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group held a town hall meeting to discuss the spill and the impact it has had on the community.
The meeting, held May 29, hosted several discussions about health, legal action and wildlife concerns.
David Lincoln, environmental geologist with Sierra Club, suggested the people of Mayflower look into a Qualified Settlement Fund.
“It’s a trust that the IRS says can be created to distribute funds for settlement and it is a trust that is run entirely by the community,” Lincoln said. 
Qualified Settlement Funds have been used in other instances, including in Danversport, Mass., where a paint factory exploded after the steam heater was left on over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006. 
Lawyer Jan Schlichtman helped the Danversport community with their Qualified Settlement Fund, and Schlichtman video conferenced with the Mayflower town hall meeting Wednesday, answering questions and explaining more about the special trusts he has helped set up for victims of several disasters.
Schlichtman said the Qualified Settlement Fund — or, more specifically, 468B Trust - is “the legal entity that allows people to come together legally and to put all their claims together legally.”
The Qualified Settlement Fund creates a unique relationship between a lawyer and his or her clients, Schlichtman said, avoiding conflict between clients.
“When you have a trust, individuals become members of the trust and now the lawyer is representing the trust,” he said. “He’s still representing the individuals, but as individuals part of a trust. The conflict has now been removed ... Any issues of allocation is all done through transparency and it’s all done open with the courts supervision, which removes that conflict.”
As far as the downsides, Schlichtman said he does not really see any other than having to work together toward a common goal.  MORE

Friday, April 19, 2013

To All Residents of Mayflower, Arkansas

This site is here to inform and assist the residents of Mayflower, Arkansas now facing decisions which will impact for the rest of their lives.

Green Fields Renewal was formed by individuals with expertise in the constellation of problems you face. These will include ensuring the hazards you now face are handled rapidly, efficiently, and in ways which reduce the health issues which have, all too often, killed victims in the past.

Read through this site carefully. Study Power Point and technologies we have at our disposal. Understand it is imperative you not sign anything until you understand the full scope of the hazards you face and what is required to ensure the safety and long-term well being of your family. 

                                                        We want the best for you, your family, and your community.

                                                                                            Dave, Melinda and Nathan