Rocker Neil Young wanted to see for himself the damage from ExxonMobil's ruptured Pegasus oil pipeline, which recently spewed reeking, black goo into small-town Mayflower, Ark. So Young, a stalwart environmentalist, drove his revamped, super fuel-efficient hybrid 1959 Lincoln Continental into Mayflower on Monday, unannounced.
A few people snapped pictures with Young (local blogger Shelli Russell bumped into a telephone pole while chasing him down). But regardless of how cool his car is, it’s unlikely the famous singer got into the Northwoods neighborhood, where the pipeline ruptured. Round-the-clock security patrolmen still have the place tightly guarded for ExxonMobil, as they have from the beginning of the spill when it seemed the town was under martial law.
On his brief journey, Young undoubtedly saw crews without respirators working in an area locals call the Cove. They are hard to miss. The Cove -- along with nearby Lake Conway, a popular fishing and boating spot -- has become a point of contention in Mayflower.
ExxonMobil has insisted that it stopped the oil from seeping from the Cove into Lake Conway. But Mayflower residents and environmental activists say they smell something fishy, and it’s not in the lake. It is a scheme by ExxonMobil to make everything look copacetic, when in fact it is not. Considering what we now know about how BP handled the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that wouldn’t be surprising.
And one oil spill specialist isn’t taking ExxonMobil’s word. He says there's crude in the lake, and he has the tests to prove it.