by Max Brantley
I think it's worth a separate bit of attention to the pipeline break and crude oil spill, which apparently followed an explosion.
News reports — and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, the nation's leading pipeline advocate— say that disaster responders have "temporarily" blocked the flow of any oil into Lake Conway. But waterways in the area have take some oil.
Griffin has rushed to the scene and brayed about his valuable presence on Twitter and received a Twitter attaboy from another oil patch cheerleader, Sen. Jason Rapert.
Disaster workers have built dams of dirt and other materials to block lake tributaries at three places. No word yet on how much oil was spilled and how long after the break was discovered at 3 p.m. to stop the flow of oil into the pipeline. Workers are trying to mop up the spill by suction and other means.
County officials, so far, say there's no threat to the water supply and are unclear how long it could be before residents may be allowed to return to their Mayflower homes. Maybe days, one report said.
A former Central Arkansas Water employee tells me the break was in the same Exxon Mobil 20-inch pipeline that carries Canadian crude to Texas refineries across 13 miles of the Lake Mamelle watershed and crosses the Maumelle River at three places. More here from KATV.
Connecting some dots:
Tim Griffin ran for re-election heavily — almost solely it seemed at times — on Obama administration opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. It is to carry even more environmentally hazardous tar sands from Canada to Gulf refineries. Griffin forever downplayed the concerns of Nebraska residents, and some in Texas, who didn't want to give up property for the pipeline and who feared environmental peril from the line, plotted to cross a sensitive aquifer.
As has been noted since, the Keystone is to carry oil to Koch Bros. refineries, which will make products to ship overseas to China and elsewhere. What the Kochs want, they get. Pipeline Griffin is now pushing bills to force approval of the Keystone pipeline without customary environmental review.
The Kochs, of course, are also fighting land use regulation to protect the Lake Maumelle watershed.
But, hey, the new pipeline could create maybe 200 permanent jobs (many thousands fewer than that claimed by Griffin.) Not to mention the occasional work of disaster cleanup, apparently with lots of overtime.