Diamond Interruptus

237

“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true, that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.”

― Dr. Seuss

The Arkansas Wildlife Federation Board passed a resolution last week requesting the US Army Corps of Engineers decline approval of the Diamond Pipeline pending an Environmental Impact Statement. “AWF proposes and requests the Corps of Engineers decline approval of the proposed region-wide Diamond Oil Pipeline project and water related crossings until the agency provides an approved Environmental Impact Statement sufficient to meet the Council on Environmental Quality procedural requirements.” CEQ is a federal agency charged with the implementation of the National Environmental Protection Act. NEPA has robust regulations on environmental quality and no exceptions for oil pipelines.

After months working in the dark, hiding the plans, and telling some lies, Plains All-American is about to find out not to mess with the people of Arkansas. Heck, I am not sorry at all!

Diamond is an environmental hazard

Diamond says the line is safe. What else are they going to say? “We are cutting corners using low-quality welded pipes, hiring crews without supervision, pretending spills may happen once in 4,000 years, with nothing but paper towels, diapers, pigs and buckets to clean toxic chemical spills, and lawyers to deal with damages?” AWF will show expediting permits ignoring known environmental hazards is unacceptable, just to benefit a shareholder owned financial venture.

What will happen with pipes already in the ground? Let Diamond deal with the Corps and landowners to restore the land and pay for damages. Other people and concerned groups may decide to stand up and protect public health and environmental justice.

Who let the dogs out?

For more than two years, landowners have been trying to protect their land. However, no one challenged the Diamond project and Diamond hired lawyers to use every loophole in Arkansas law.

The root of the problem is Arkansas willful blindness in favor of oil and gas. “Rules Done Right: How Arkansas Brought Its Oil and Gas Law into a Horizontal World,” a 2015 University of Arkansas Law Review report explains how the Arkansas law was changed to promote fracking!

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission says frack fluids are perfectly safe, no different from chemicals found in household items. If you have rat poisons, weed killers, floor cleaners, and a drawer full of prescribed drugs, you know to keep them away from kids and pets. Frackers use a foul brew, like the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: toe of frog, eye of newt, fillet of fenny snake, and wool of bat.

The American Petroleum Institute says pipelines are perfectly safe, 99.999 percent of the oil arrives at its destination. API needs to hire a statistician, or a high school senior; what API says about five 9’s is meaningless. Reality is unavoidable, pipeline spills happen all the time, leaks go undetected, and spills are deadly. These “accidents” make the news, but the true cause of the spills is ignored.

Shale oil is not oil

In January 2014, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a major safety alert, declaring shale oil chemically explosive, three days after the massive Casselton, N. Dak. explosion of an oil train. When shale oil’s volatile organic components vaporize from liquid to gases, BOOM! The Oil Industry blamed trains and said pipelines are safer than trains!

Transporting Hazardous Materials is insane

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is Arkansas’s Homeland Security and Preparedness Agency. ADEM says they protect us from threats to the security of the Nation. How is Diamond not a threat?

What will you tell your kids?

A good friend posted on Facebook: “I tried, baby. I called our leaders, I donated money, I stood on the corner with a sign, I passed out literature and raised awareness. I got on the news and informed Arkansans, I organized rallies and marches to oppose the corporate greed aiming to kill us all. I know that’s what I will tell my kids as we desperately search for water we can drink.”

Dr. Luis Contreras

5 COMMENTS

  1. { Dismissal of suit over Arkansas pipeline spill upheld }

    U.S. appeals court affirms ruling that denied class-action status in Exxon Mobil case

    May 12, 2017

    Exxon Mobil prevailed Thursday when a federal appeals court panel affirmed a lower court’s ruling that decertified a class-action lawsuit against the oil giant and dismissed it.

    Four property owners in central Arkansas filed the original lawsuit after the March 29, 2013, rupture of the Pegasus pipeline, which spilled tens of thousands of gallons of heavy crude oil into Mayflower’s Northwoods subdivision, drainage ditches and a cove of Lake Conway.

    A three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the March 2015 decision by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller in Little Rock. Miller had earlier granted class-action status to the lawsuit but later reversed course and dismissed the case.

    Miller decided he had been wrong to grant class-action status to landowners whose property is crossed by the Pegasus line, which extends from Corsicana, Texas, to Patoca, Ill. The pipeline, built in 1947-48, also runs through Arkansas and Missouri. A class action stood to affect thousands of landowners in the four states.

    Neither Exxon Mobil nor attorneys for the original plaintiffs, Arnez and Charletha Harper and Rudy and Betty Webb, had much to say Thursday.

    Exxon Mobil spokesman Todd Spitler said only: “We agree with the decision of the court.”

    Thomas Thrash, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an email that he and others involved in the case “were very disappointed in the decision.”

    “We have not made the decision as to whether we will appeal further,” Thrash added.

    The Webbs live in Conway but own property in Mayflower. The Harpers live in Mayflower.

    The lawsuit had sought to rescind the prospective plaintiffs’ easements in all four states and to force Exxon Mobil to remove or replace the pipeline. Alternatively, the lawsuit sought to recover damages resulting from what it contended was Exxon Mobil’s breach of contract and diminished property values.

    Exxon Mobil shut down the roughly 850-mile-long pipeline shortly after the spill. Only a 211-mile segment in Texas has reopened.

    Like Miller, the appeals court panel found a lack of commonality among the landowners in the four states — an essential element in a class-action case.

    Establishing breach of contract “would require examination of how Exxon’s operation of the pipeline affects the plaintiffs, which, as the district court found, varies depending on where individual class members’ property is located, as well as many other factors,” the panel’s opinion said.

    “Too many individual issues predominate over common ones,” the panel added.

    Further, even if the easements were similar or identical, it said, there would be issues of conflicting contract, property and tort laws in the four states.

    With class-action status removed, the panel said individual claims by the Harpers and the Webbs failed because the easement contracts did not even require the oil company to perform maintenance or repairs. Further, both couples have conceded that the Exxon Mobil pipeline has not caused “any damage to any crops, timber, or fences” on their property, the appeals panel wrote.

    “Instead they claim the pipeline is composed of ‘bad pipe’ and is ‘worn out,'” the panel wrote. “Such vague allegations alone cannot provide the basis for these claims.”

    Attorneys for the plaintiffs also had argued that Exxon Mobil had withheld important documents until days before the district court entered its order — documents that they said provided “newly discovered evidence,” the panel said.

    But the panel said Miller had found that this new evidence did “not address … the heart” of his judgment and that the Harpers and the Webbs had not suffered any actual damages.

    “As far as the Webbs’ and Harpers’ allegations that Exxon’s late production of discovery documents should have prevented the grant of summary judgment, they fail to explain why whatever was produced late would have changed the result,” the panel said.

    “Our own review … does not convince us the district court clearly abused its discretion in concluding that the additional evidence the Webbs and Harpers sought to introduce would not have, as the district court said, ‘produce[d] a different result,'” it added.

    NWA Democrat Gazzete 05/12/2017

    • “Joe” you have a weird sense of humor. Crude toxicity is what Diamond is all about. Let’s meet at Mayflower and I will buy you lunch, we can chat with the locals and the nearby medical clinics. The Mayor of Mayflower Randy Holland would be happy to meet you.

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