Abby Zimet from Common Dreams reports that news from the Arkansas pipeline spill just got a lot worse. It turns out an obscure law says that, because the pipeline is carrying diluted bitumen, not oil, Exxon will not have to pay for the clean up. Now we can understand why our politicians were so unconcerned about the environmental consequences of pipelines bringing “oil” from the Canadian tarsands. It’s only considered oil if its in the pipeline. If it leaks, it’s diluted coal not covered by the law. So such human and environmental disasters as happened in Arkansas aren’t Exxon’s problem. The law as written will give big oil companies and their political toadies a free ride to untold wealth; and the public, once again, gets stuck with the check.
I’m not sure how widespread such laws are, or if Abby Zimet is right that Exxon will get off so lightly, but her article is definitely a wake up call.