Attorney General and ADEQ Reach Consent Decree with ExxonMobil
April 22, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Becky Keogh today announced that a consent decree has been reached with ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipe Line Company (ExxonMobil) to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and State environmental laws stemming from the 2013 crude oil spill from the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower.
ExxonMobil will pay $1 million in State civil penalties, $600,000 toward water quality-based Supplemental Environmental Projects and $280,000 to the Attorney General’s Office for litigation costs. ExxonMobil will also pay $3.19 million in federal civil penalties and perform measures to improve pipeline safety and spill response.
Attorney General Rutledge said, “This consent decree is a critical victory for the State and the Mayflower community. ExxonMobil was responsible for the damage to the environment and for disrupting lives of Arkansans. Today, ExxonMobil is being held accountable for the estimated 134,000 gallons of oil that flowed out of the ruptured pipeline.”
Director Keogh said, “This settlement marks an important step forward. The civil penalty of $1 million will greatly supplement funds available for use to address emergency actions and to address contaminated sites across Arkansas. ADEQ has agreed to the use of $600,000 in the form of a Supplemental Environmental Project where the immediate local community will realize benefits. The project will improve water quality in Lake Conway and its watershed under a plan approved by and overseen by ADEQ.”
Under the terms of the consent decree, ExxonMobil commits to complying with all Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) requirements before reactivating the Pegasus pipeline, which has been idle since the spill.
If the pipeline is reopened, ExxonMobil is required to pursue additional pipeline safety measures to help prevent future ruptures. The company will also be required to improve its spill response capabilities by providing additional training to its oil spill first responders, and it will establish caches of spill response equipment and supplies at three strategically located sites near the pipeline, including one cache located near Mayflower.
On March 29, 2013, the Pegasus Pipeline, carrying Canadian heavy crude oil from Illinois to Texas, ruptured in the Northwoods neighborhood of Mayflower. Oil flowed through the neighborhood, contaminating homes and yards, before entering a creek, wetlands and a Lake Conway cove. The spill volume has been estimated at approximately 3,190 barrels, or 134,000 gallons.
The complaint in the case, filed jointly with the United States, on June 13, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleges that ExxonMobil discharged crude oil in violation of Sections 301 and 311 of the Clean Water Act. The complaint also asserts State claims for civil penalties for improper storage of hazardous waste generated during the cleanup and for water and air pollution violations pursuant to the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act and the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act.
The consent decree, submitted to the court, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court review and approval.