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Exxon needs transparency

Following a March 29 Pegasus pipeline spill that spewed an initial estimate of nearly 157,000 gallons of oil in Mayflower, Ark., Exxon Mobil seems to be doing a fair job in picking up its own mess, having collected more than 19,000 barrels of oil and water.

Yet the company seems to be doing an even better job at keeping any news related to the spill, the cleanup or Exxon Mobil itself to a bare minimum, instead relying on a public relations crew to give residents generalities.

Though the spill is much smaller in comparison to others in recent years, a subpoena was still needed to force the company to turn over 12,587 pages of documents, five CDs of data and 200 blueprint-sized diagrams related to the company’s pipeline.

Exxon Mobil complied reluctantly. Still, reporters are having a difficult time in getting information since being blocked from the site and threatened with arrest.

According to Inside Climate News, when reporter Lisa Song went to the command center to speak to representatives of the Department of Transportation or the Environmental Protection Agency, she was stopped by an Exxon spokesperson and told she could be arrested for criminal trespass.

Even more, RT.com reported that the 22 families that were evacuated were “being kept in the dark over compensation and the cleanup by Exxon.” Despite promises by Exxon Mobil that it would pay for claims caused by the spill, no reports have been made of any payments.

After a few local stations tried to get images from a flyover in order to see the full extent of the damage, the Federal Aviation Administration halted this, issuing a “notice to airmen” to stop all air traffic in the area.

With its reputation looking more and more tarnished, Exxon Mobil should work on delivering facts and working with the public rather than pretending it is living up to its 2013 Green Cross for Safety award.

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