Massive ExxonMobil Spill in Arkansas Backyards Is Not All BadS

Ten days ago, an ExxonMobil pipeline pumping crude oil from the Alberta tar sands down to Texas refineries burst open in Mayflower, Ark., causing the evacuation of nearly two dozen homes and coating wildlife and the surrounding area in thousands of gallons of oil. I'm sorry, sludge. But there's a silver lining! And no, I'm not talking about the reflective sheen of tar sands oil coating a five-mile radius, ha ha. No, folks, the silver lining is: Business is booming!

Yes, as Northwest Arkansas Online reports, "Local businesses see spill blessing":

Exxon Mobil Pipeline Corp. has already spent millions of dollars on supplies and services from local businesses and contractors after a major oil spill more than a week ago in this town 10 miles south of Conway, a spokesman said Saturday.

"We are buying as much supplies and hiring as many contractors as possible from Arkansas," Exxon Mobil spokesman Patrick McGinn said. "We have purchased from 70 Arkansas contractors, and about half of those are local - local meaning here in Mayflower or Faulkner County."

A jobs program we can all get behind! My only question is, when can ExxonMobil spill 2,000 barrels of tar sands sludge in my backyard and kickstart the local economy? Am I right? Too bad about the dying ducks, obviously, and the people whose houses were in the path of the noxious sludge, and that smell—that horrific smell. But that, friends, is the smell of jobs. Central Arkansas should be thanking ExxonMobil, not protesting them!

[Andy] Morris, the employee at Lumber 1, said he believes people should realize Exxon Mobil is here to help. [...] "I really just hope the people here in central Arkansas see these people are here to help with a disaster, not cause a disaster. And they are here to get it helped and solved really, really quick."

It is deeply unfortunate that central Arkansans are being so rude to ExxonMobil, and reflects very badly on the state. ExxonMobil is fixing a disaster, not causing one. I mean, obviously, they did cause one, but that's in the past, at this point. Now they're fixing it.

And really you should stop asking about the past anyway:

Questions about the dollar amount of Exxon Mobil claims, specifics about the upkeep of the pipeline, the oil's long-term effects on marshlands and other questions went unanswered by officials at the news conference Saturday.

"I am here to really focus on recovery and relief efforts," Wiesner said.

[NWAOnline, image by Alyssa Martinez / Drew Crownover / Annie Dill / Alex Shahrokhi]