Activist claims oil spill has reached wetland

Wetland - Picture Courtesy Tar Sands Blockade

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - Tar Sands Blockade volunteers are in Mayflower, working with homeowners affected by the oil spill. The grass roots organization is known for using non-violent action against the Keystone Pipeline. The group has been in Arkansas for a week now.

The Keystone Pipeline will carry the same material that spilled in Mayflower, it's called Tar Sands.

Volunteers with Tar Sands Blockade say it's more toxic than crude oil and it's contaminated the Bell Slough wetland in Mayflower.

In a video by activist Eric Moll with Tar Sands Blockade, you hear him say, "I don't know what they plan to do with it now that they pumped it here." The video is reportedly of the wetland.

Moll says he's spoken with eye witnesses who claim workers power washed oil into storm drains, "Into a nearby wetland that is actually through the ground water, connected to Lake Conway."

Some homeowners disagree and say days of heavy rain caused the oil to go down the drains. Regardless, Moll says this video proves the wetland is contaminated. In the video you can see, "The workers have been there, they're using some kind of quilted paper towel to try and soak things up."

Unlike crude oil, Moll says this tar sands sinks and gets in the sediment, making it difficult to clean.

A homeowner says, "By Friday evening, it had already penetrated and got in the house."

Activist are now helping residents document health effects with video testimony. Sherry Appleman says, "My throat is burning all the time."

Christina Saville adds, "Everybody in the family, there are 6 of us here, had severe headaches."

Moll says the hot liquid, sand paper like tar, shouldn't be pumped through the aging 60 year old pipeline. "So this was not an accident, this was deliberate negligence. This is an 800 mile long pipe, it happened to break in this one spot, Exxon plans to fix that one spot."

Exxon spokesperson Kim Jordan did not speak specifically on if workers washed oil down drains. She would only say quote, "Anything washed away would be cleaned up."


This is what Moll has to say about the tar. "The substance itself is so thick, sandy and slug-like that it can't be pumped through pipelines unless all these diluents and other chemicals are added to it to make it flow. They also heat it up and pressurize it. You basically have hot liquid sand paper moving through these pipes and this is a 65-year old pipe that broke here. This is an 800 mile long pipe, it happened to break in this one spot. Exxon will fix it and leave the other 800 miles to pump this hot liquid sand paper through an ancient pipe."{}