Feds, Arkansas Sue Exxon for Oil Spill


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) - The United States and Arkansas sued ExxonMobil for the environmental damages from the March 29 Pegasus Pipeline oil spill in a residential neighborhood.
     A 60-year-old underground pipeline ruptured in the small town of Mayflower, 24 miles north of Little Rock. The federal complaint does not state how many barrels of oil spilled. Media reports estimate 5,000 barrels. The pipeline could transport 95,000 barrels a day.
     "The oil spilled directly into a residential neighborhood and then into nearby waterways, including an unnamed creek, wetlands, and Lake Conway," the complaint states. "Residents were forced to evacuate their homes due to the hazardous conditions in the neighborhood resulting from the spill. Defendants' oil has contaminated land and waterways and impacted human health and welfare, wildlife, and habitat. Cleanup efforts are still ongoing. ...
     "The waters of Lake Conway flow into the Arkansas River. People in 22 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated due to the hazardous conditions caused by the oil spill. Most, if not all the residents who were evacuated on March 29, 2013, following the oil spill are still out of their homes as of the filing of this complaint."
     The spill also contaminated the air. Mayflower, pop. 2,200, is in Faulkner County.
     The pipeline was built in the 1940s and is buried 2 feet underground. It runs 850 miles through four states, taking crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
     The state and federal governments seek damages under the U.S. Clean Water Act, the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act, the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act, and the Oil Pollution Act.
     The United States seeks up to $1,100 per barrel under the Clean Water Act, or up to $4,300 per barrel if the spill was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct.
     Arkansas seeks fines of up to $25,000 per day under the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act and $10,000 per day per violation under the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act.