Arkansas town in lockdown after oil spill nightmare

A preview of what we will suffer if KXL is built

Grist

There’s one Exxon gas station in Mayflower, Ark.

Before last Friday, that’s likely as close as Mayflower residents got to the multinational oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil. But after the Pegasus Pipeline burst last Friday, sending thousands of gallons of tar-sands oil into the Northwoods neighborhood, the company became omnipresent in this small town of 2,200 people.

The first thing you notice when driving into Mayflower is the stench. Travelers can smell the fumes from Interstate 40, which runs through the town. Within town limits, the smell is putrid: Imagine wet asphalt on a hot summer’s day — times 10,000. At the local Harp’s grocery, something less than half a mile from the spill, the stink makes your eyes water and your nose burn.

But the reek is only a hint at ExxonMobil’s presence here. Since thick black sludge first began oozing across backyards and into the streets, surprising many…

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