Last night Tar Sands Blockade and Texas Action Coalition for the Environment held a vigil in downtown Dallas at Pegasus Plaza to mark the one year anniversary of the Mayflower, Arkansas tar sands spill. One year after 210,000 gallons of tar sands spilled from Exxon’s Pegasus Pipeline, residents are still suffering major health complications and many were forced to leave their homes.
We read aloud the testimony of Ann Jarrell, a Mayflower resident who lived only a few hundred feet from the rupture site. Her three month-old grandson developed a severe lung infection and requires special breathing apparatus to this day. Ann herself suffered from debilitating headaches and other symptoms for months following the spill, and only saw improvement when her doctor ordered her to leave her home and never return – not even for a few minutes.
Exxon is attempting to restart a section of the 65-year-old pipeline in Texas any day now, requesting approval from the Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration. As of Friday night, PHMSA have yet to announce a decision on that request. As we await PHMSA’s decision, it is essential that Texans stand united to say that public safety, clean water and health are more valuable than fossil fuel wealth.