A five-minute long video was posted to YouTube on April 2, three days after a flood of diluted bitumen surged from a broken tar sands pipeline. The video was taken by videojournalist Adam Randall sometime before the Federal Aviation Administration placed a No-Fly Zone over the neighborhood.
The extent of the spill is still unknown, but officials are saying thousands of barrels gushed from a 2-inch-wide, 22-foot-long gash. More than 22,000 barrels of oily water and 2,000 cubic yards of oiled debris have already been recovered.
"The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought," Dustin McDaniel, Arkansas Attorney General, told reporters on Wednesday after he subpoenaed more than 12,500 pages of documents from Exxon related to the spill.
Reports have emerged that journalists have been barred from the site and threatened with arrest. A video posted to YouTube was also slammed by Rachel Maddow after activists with Tar Sands Blockade filmed what appear to be paper towels being used to clean up the spill.
Residents in the area have also started to file health complaints, reported HuffPost's Lynne Peeples.
In an odd turn of events, ExxonMobil was presented with a safety medal by the National Safety Council days after the spill.
"We hold this award in high esteem because it recognizes the deep commitment of our company and our people to a culture of safety," Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said at the awards ceremony.
Some environmentalist groups including the Sierra Club and 350.org have asked President Obama to delay any decision on the Keystone XL pipeline pending further investigation into the spill.