By Sam Eifling
Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin Wednesday released three key documents about ExxonMobil's 1940s-era Pegasus pipeline, which dumped 200,000-plus gallons of heavy Canadian crude oil into his district on March 29. Griffin got the data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Wednesday morning. He then posted links to the data on his website, even though both PHMSA and ExxonMobil have refused to make the documents public.
Two of the documents are 2010 in-line inspection reports on the segment of the Pegasus that runs from Doniphan, Mo., to Conway, Ark., and from Conway to Corsicana, Texas. The third is preliminary data from an in-line inspection Exxon ran between Conway and Foreman, Texas, just weeks before the spill forced the evacuation of 22 homes in the town of Mayflower, which is in the Second District that Griffin represents. The pipeline also passes through the watershed of Lake Maumelle, Little Rock's primary water supply.
"As I told PHMSA officials when I met with them earlier this month, information from the pre-spill inspections should be accessible to everyone," Griffin said in a statement. "While I am still going through the reports' findings, I plan to cover all of this information with technical experts soon, and will continue to do everything I can to make sure the victims of this tragedy are made whole and the drinking water for 400,000 Arkansans remains safe."
Griffin is a second-term Republican who has supported the pipeline industry and also the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast and carry the same type of oil the Pegasus was carrying.