The images from Mayflower, Ark., after a March 29 oil spill were particularly repulsive: A river of black goo running through yards and down the street of a subdivision, and hundreds of workers arriving to clean up an industrial mess in a peaceful burg.
But the Exxon Mobil pipeline spill, initially estimated to have released at least 157,000 gallons of crude oil and driven more than 20 families from their homes, represents only a fraction of the regular oil losses from the huge network of pipelines stretching across the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. pipelines spilled an average of more than 3.1 million gallons of hazardous liquids per year, according to data from the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the nation's pipeline regulator. Those spills -- most commonly caused by corrosion and equipment failure -- caused at least $1.5 billion in property damage altogether.
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