The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that they have reached a settlement with ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipe Line Company (Exxon), over environmental violations stemming from a 2013 crude oil spill in Arkansas.
On March 29, 2013 Exxon's Pegasus pipeline ruptured, causing about 134,000 gallons of heavy crude oil to flow through a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas, and nearby waterways. The oil contaminated homes and yards, before entering a creek and a part of Lake Conway. Many residents were asked to evacuate and remained displaced for some time.
"Oil spills like this one in Mayflower, Arkansas have real and lasting impacts on clean water for communities," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Companies need to take the necessary precautions to make sure oil is transported safely and responsibly. This settlement puts in place essential pipeline safety and response measures that are important to make this industry safer for communities."
Under the settlement Exxon will pay $3.19 million in federal civil penalties and address pipeline safety issues and oil spill response programs. In addition the company will pay $1 million in state fines, $600,000 for a project to revitalize Lake Conway and $280,000 to the Arkansas Attorney General's Office for state litigation costs.
Exxon did not admit liability, according to the consent decree, but did say that they regretted the incident and apologized for the inconvenience that it caused. The Pegasus pipelines runs about 850 miles from Illinois to Texas and transports Canadian heavy crude oil. The area near the rupture site has not been used since the spill.
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