14 June 2013, News Wires – Federal and state authorities have filed a joint lawsuit against ExxonMobil over the March spill of thousands of barrels of heavy crude into a residential neighbourhood in Arkansas.
The US Justice Department said it is seeking civil penalties under federal law against the supermajor related to the spill of some 5000 barrels of oil, which occurred when the 95,000-barrel-per-day Pegasus line ruptured months ago.
The State of Arkansas is also seeking civil penalties for alleged violations of state pollution laws, Reuters reported.
Clean-up has continued and the Pegasus line has been shut since the major spill in late March, when heavy oil spewed into the lawns and driveways of 22 homes in the suburban town of Mayflower, forcing evacuations.
Arkansas is also awaiting judgement on ExxonMobil’s liability for damages related to the spill.
An ExxonMobil spokesman told Reuters that the company has not been formally served with the lawsuit and had net yet reviewed the allegations.
Some residents have sued the company as well.
Pipeline regulators recently granted ExxonMobil time to conduct a second round of testing on the ruptured portion of the nearly 70-year-old line to determine what caused the malfunction. The pipeline runs from Illinois to Texas.
The spill occurred near Lake Conway, a popular recreational area. The oil killed dozens of birds mammals and reptiles, and hundreds more were captured and cleaned of oil.
Mayflower is located about 25 miles north-west of Little Rock, the state capital.
*Luke Johnson, Upstreamonline