by Max Brantley
Exxon Mobil, which has a high-dollar, high-pressure PR operation in progress to minimize impact of the pipeline rupture and tar sands deluge in Mayflower, has been steadfast in one message — no oil has reached Lake Conway. That view has had many challenges. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel restated the obvious yesterday at his news conference. A contaminated cove of the lake is clearly fouled by oil and no plywood plugs in culverts between the cove and the lake proper or booms in the main body of the lake are sufficient guards given the shared hydrology of the lake and surrounding wetlands. That's true no matter how many employees of Lake Conway's nominal owner and protector, the state Game and Fish commission, Exxon puts to work as richly paid private security guards.
Now comes some more guerrilla reporting from the Tree Hugger website on the question (Tree Hugger notes the work is by others). It includes video made during yesterday's storms. Not a pretty picture, that one above, depicted as water being pumped out of the contaminated cove of the lake at such force that it overshoots the Lake Conway oil booms. But, I should note, I can't say for sure precisely what portion of the cove the water is coming from. Tree Hugger has further updated the original post and says that, while Game and Fish says no filter was being used on the pump of water from the cove to the lake that they were confident it wasn't transferring oil because pumping was coming from a portion of the cove sequestered by booms from portions were oil was visibly present. Game and Fish also says a series of culverts are positioned in such a way as to push contaminated water from below the oil into the lake. Tar sand oil is heavier, some contend, and not necessarily confined to the surface and there's the matter of various chemicals added to the tar sand product to facilitate its shipment through pipelines. Testing on lake water has so far come up clean, the state says.
Calling U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. Surely he has the Exxon talking point to explain this away.