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Consent Decree with ExxonMobil Reached

Attorney General and ADEQ Reach Consent Decree with ExxonMobil

Wed, Apr 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.

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Court Hears Arguments

Rutledge: Court Hears Arguments Challenging the EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule

Thu, Apr 16, 2015

Occurs same day that the EPA is holding a public hearing in Arkansas to discuss the federal implementation plan for regional haze

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the federal lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 111(d) rule that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from electric generating units. At the request of Attorney General Rutledge, Arkansas was granted intervention in this case on March 9. These arguments occurred on the same day that the EPA held a public hearing in Arkansas on the federal implementation plan for regional haze. Rutledge released the following statement:

“Today, the D.C. Circuit has heard that this proposed rule goes beyond the EPA’s authority, granted by Congress in the Clean Air Act, and seeks to impose a national energy policy that will harm the U.S. economy. Requiring states to reduce carbon emission by 30 percent in 15 years would simply put many out of business, leaving Arkansas unable to maintain steady job growth.

“Also today, the EPA is holding a hearing in Arkansas to receive public comments on a federal plan to address regional haze. This plan, along with the 111(d) rule, could force large numbers of power plants across the U.S. to close, including ones in Arkansas. I hope the EPA will listen to the concerns of the public at this hearing. In the Natural State, we value clean air and clean water, but this type of federal overreach will lead to reduced economic growth – something the people of Arkansas cannot afford.”

Rutledge sought the motion to intervene on Feb. 13 to join the lawsuit with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Kentucky. Wisconsin was granted intervention after Arkansas.

As indicated in the motion, Arkansas is required to meet the sixth most stringent obligation of all the states under the proposed 111(d) rule, yet Arkansas ranks 46th in per capita income. The EPA proposes emissions rate reductions of 41 percent and 44 percent as interim and final requirements. The drastic reductions required under the proposed rule will negatively impact existing industry, future economic development and electric ratepayers in Arkansas.

Rutledge testified about this proposed EPA rule, as well as other EPA policies at the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior in February. Click here for a copy of Rutledge’s opening statement, or a video can be found here.

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Child Safety Poster Contest Winners

Rutledge Announces Child Safety Poster Contest Winners

Thu, Apr 16, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the winners of the 2015 Child Safety Poster Contest, which is sponsored annually by the Attorney General’s Office. This year’s poster theme was Bring Our Missing Children Home. Rutledge released the following statement:

“I want to congratulate this year’s winners of the Child Safety Poster Contest. There were a record number of participants with 1,171 entries. Students from across the State submitted posters with the winners coming from North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Cabot, Mena, West Memphis, Little Rock and my own elementary school, Southside in Independence County. These students did an excellent job highlighting this year’s theme, and I am extremely impressed by the talent of our young Arkansans.”

Attorney General Rutledge also extended her appreciation to the three contest judges, Melinda Faubel with AT&T, Cynthia Hass with the Arkansas Arts Council and Paul Leopoulos with the Thea Foundation. AT&T also helped sponsor the contest, BK Moulding donated supplies to mat each poster and the Thea Foundation is hosting this evening’s reception, where the winning entries will be on display.

This evening’s reception at the Thea Foundation, located at 401 Main St. in North Little Rock, is open to the public and media. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

2015 winners:

Kindergarten

  • Carter Brown, Stagecoach Elementary School (Cabot), 1st Place
  • Rhamiya Smith, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 2nd Place
  • Arabella Johnston, Lakewood Elementary School (North Little Rock), 3rd Place

1st Grade

  • Tevarious Jones, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 1st Place
  • Sasha Walker, Edgewood Elementary School (Pine Bluff), 2nd Place
  • Jacob Acosta, Eastside Elementary School (Cabot), 3rd Place

2nd Grade

  • Fatima Adame, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 1st Place
  • Rylee Lemley, Southside Elementary School (Independence County), 2nd Place
  • Elizabeth Hardcastle, Southside Elementary School (Independence County), 3rd Place

3rd Grade

  • Vincent DeLuca, Carver Elementary School (Little Rock), 1st Place
  • Kiylee Hughes, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 2nd Place
  • Lina Mesa, Stagecoach Elementary School (Cabot), 3rd Place

4th Grade

  • Mason Smith, Magness Creek Elementary School (Cabot), 1st Place
  • Matiyah Rowland, Carver Elementary School (Little Rock), 2nd Place
  • Jadyn Cook, Lakewood Elementary School (North Little Rock), 3rd Place

5th Grade

  • Sarah Grenier, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 1st Place
  • Amanda Booth, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 2nd Place
  • Isabella Balkenhol, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 3rd Place

The winning fifth grade poster, submitted by Sarah Grenier, will be entered into the National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Information about the 2016 contest will be announced later this year.

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Statewide Tele-Town Hall on Arkansas FOIA

Rutledge to Hold First Statewide Tele-Town Hall on Arkansas FOIA

Mon, Apr 13, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she will hold a statewide tele-town hall meeting to educate the public about the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Rutledge released the following statement:

“Arkansas has a strong FOIA that is regarded across the country as one of the best at holding government accountable and helping citizens stay informed. As the people’s lawyer, I am committed to protecting the democratic ideal of an open and transparent government and helping educate Arkansans about the FOIA. I am excited to use technology in an innovative way to help bring Arkansans closer to their government.”

The statewide tele-town hall will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. For those interested in participating, please sign up by emailing foia@arkansasag.gov with your name, telephone number and city.

The tele-town hall will be the first in a series of informational meetings, both traditional as well as webcast, to inform Arkansans about the FOIA.

All that is needed to participate is a telephone. Participants will be given an opportunity to ask Attorney General Rutledge questions related to the FOIA. Those who have signed up in advance will receive an automated phone call just before the tele-town hall begins and will receive instructions on how to participate.

Print copies of the 16th edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook are available upon request from the Attorney General’s Office, and an electronic copy of the handbook is available on the Attorney General’s website by visiting arkansasag.gov/media-center/foia.

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