Monday

ExxonMobil Knew for Years About Defects in Ill-Fated Arkansas Pipeline

Despite risks, oil giant added stresses to pipeline that eventually ruptured. Since at least 2006, ExxonMobil realized that its 1940s-era Pegasus pipeline had many manufacturing defects like the faulty welds that, in March, sent crude oil spewing into a Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood. Its seams were known to be prone to cracking, too. Still, Exxon added new stresses to the pipeline by starting to carry a heavier type of oil, reversing the direction of the flow and increasing the amount of crude surging through it. Separately, the costly oil spill cleanups in Mayflower and in Marshall, Mich., highlight the potential hazards of transporting heavy Canadian crude as the Obama administration nears a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. InsideClimate NewsThe New York Times

Lax reporting, scant oversight undermine 27-year-old program to track hazardous chemical storage. Under the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, private and public operations must issue an inventory of potentially hazardous chemicals at their sites. The inventory, known as a Tier II report, is filed with state, county and local emergency-management officials. The information is then supposed to be made public to help first responders and residents plan for emergencies. But operations across the U.S. often misidentify chemicals or their location, and sometimes don’t report on the substances at all. The system has drawn scrutiny since April’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Reuters

New York City agrees to pay $12 million to settle suit over toxic dumpsite linked to 12 cases of childhood leukemia. During the 1980s, the 12 children–including three who died of leukemia and nine who survived the disease–all lived, played and swam in the shadow of the Pelham Bay landfill in the Bronx. For well over a decade, the dump was a vast environmental crime scene, where bribes to city workers opened the gates to an estimated 1.1 million gallons of illegally dumped toxic waste. But ever since the first claim was brought 22 years ago, the year after the area was named a federal Superfund site, city administrations fought the litigation. The city has now settled with the families, but still says it managed the landfill lawfully. The New York Times

Maker of OxyContin compiled a database of doctors suspected of recklessly prescribing pills, but rarely alerted authorities. Purdue Pharma, maker of the painkiller, has included over 1,800 doctors in its database since it started identifying those who write questionable prescriptions in 2002. The company added names even as it promoted the idea that the epidemic of prescription drug deaths was fueled largely by pharmacy robberies, doctor-shopping patients and teens raiding home medicine cabinets. A Purdue lawyer said the company alerted law enforcement or medical regulators to 154 of the prescribers — 8 percent of those in its database. But a local health official said Purdue has a duty to report all the doctors, not a select few. Los Angeles Times

African countries call for action to curb imports of electronic waste. The imports include old computers and cellphones from Europe, where stringent environmental laws make exporting used goods cheaper than disposing of them at home. In a document released last week, African countries that previously adopted an international convention on hazardous waste called for ending imports of discarded electronic goods containing dangerous components. In some cases, the products are portrayed as donations, even though they are no longer useful. For instance, in Ghana 30 percent of imports of supposedly secondhand goods were useless. Authorities say illicit waste also is hidden in containers with legitimate cargo to fool customs inspectors. The Guardian 

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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