The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a no-fly zone over the site of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas. ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands oil pipeline ruptured last Friday and spilled more than 318,000 litres of tar sands oil into a local neighborhood, drainage system and lake.
22 homes had to be evacuated.
The restriction went into effect Monday and will remain in place “until further notice”, according to this FAA website posting.
According to ArkansasOnline, “‘only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff’ are allowed in the zone. This LinkedIn profile lists Suhrhoff as a former US Army helicopter pilot and “aviation advisor at ExxonMobil.”
In other words, the media and environmentalists will have to seek Exxon’s permission to witness the spill. And this is the picture the FAA and Exxon does not want you to see:
“It was one of the worst smells I’ve smelled,” said photojournalist Adam Randall. “The smell is so overwhelming I can only imagine what it’s like for the residents down in that area. Up in the air, it was bad enough that if we were there any longer we were talking a headache.”
As I blogged earlier, the disaster should warn Canadians against Enbridge’s proposed Line 9 project. Environmental Defence, a non-partisan environmental charity, says Line 9 poses serious risks to drinking water and the environment in neighborhoods, cities and farms in Ontario and Quebec.