Nearly six months have passed since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline ruptured and released as much as 7,000 barrels of diluted bitumen into Mayflower, Arkansas. And as soon as the company realized that they had a problem, the cover up began.
From the outset, there has been a clear effort on behalf of Exxon to mislead and deceive the public about the effects that the tar sands spill will have on both the environment and public health. As a result, the population in Mayflower is suffering at an unprecedented rate from mystery illnesses that can be linked back to exposure to tar sands crude.
Just like BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher, Exxon attempted to deceive the public about how much oil had actually been spilled. The company claimed that the amount was somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 barrels. But a report by Inside Climate News, based on numbers from the U.S. EPA, said that the actual number was closer to 7,000 barrels. However, the EPA refused to correct Exxon’s numbers and did not include the agency’s own estimates in their press releases, instead choosing to parrot the bogus numbers asserted by Exxon.
That was just the beginning of Exxon’s plan to mislead both the public and the federal government. The major problem the company knew it would face would be the health impacts on residents, so Exxon has done everything in its power to prevent the truth from leaking out. (Those kinds of leaks are easier to prevent.)