Not Just Toxic, But Exempt

Abby Zimet

The news from Exxon's Arkansas pipeline spill just keeps getting worse. Not only are dead and what officials are calling "oiled" ducks turning up - coated in oil so thick it's "like removing gum from someone's hair" - but Exxon, thanks to a legal technicality, won't be paying into the fund used to clean up their mess. What's running through their pipelines is diluted bitumen from Alberta tar sands heavy crude, which under a 1980 law is mysteriously not classified as oil. That means that companies transporting it do not have to pay into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that covers the costs of inevitable debacles like the one now inundating Arkansas. So they get a free ride/subsidy for trashing our backyards. And yes. Same goes for Keystone.

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