LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has announced a joint lawsuit with the U.S. government against ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. and Mobile Pipeline Co. for alleged violations of pollution laws.
ExxonMobil allegedly violated state and pollution laws when the Pegasus Pipeline ruptured on March 29 in Mayflower, causing a spill of Canadian heavy crude oil through the neighborhood and into nearby waterways. ExxonMobil also allegedly violated pollution laws during the cleanup of the incident.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The state seeks civil penalties for alleged violations of the Hazardous Waste Management Act and the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act and a declaratory judgment against the defendants for payment of removal costs and damages under the federal Oil Pollution Act. The federal government seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.
"This spill disrupted lives and damaged our environment," McDaniel said. "It sullied our previously pristine water and our clean air. As the party responsible for this incident, Exxon is also responsible for the penalties imposed by the state for the damage to our environment and the company should foot the bill for the state's clean-up costs."
The lawsuit alleges ExxonMobil violated the Water and Air Pollution Control Act when the Pegasus Pipeline ruptured. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of $10,000 per violation of the law per day.
During the cleanup, ExxonMobil allegedly stored waste at a site on Highway 36 in Conway without a permit from the ADEQ and continued to store the waste at the site despite sending the company a notice on May 1. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of $25,000 per violation per day of the Hazardous Waste Management Act.
McDaniel lauded the U.S. Department of Justice for its help on the matter.
"I am glad for the opportunity to work collaboratively with U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer and the Department of Justice for the benefit of the people of Arkansas," McDaniel said. "Attorneys in my office and DOJ attorneys have dedicated themselves to this lawsuit and I appreciate their efforts."