Exxon asked to pay US$1.8M for Arkansas oil spill damage
by The Associated Press
The 70-year-old Pegasus pipeline ruptured, causing more than US$57 million in property damage
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—State and federal officials are asking Exxon Mobil to pay more than US$1.8 million in compensation for a 2013 oil spill in Arkansas.
The state Game and Fish Commission proposed the settlement Tuesday, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The funds would pay for wildlife restoration and compensate the government for damage caused when the 70-year-old Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower near Lake Conway.
The letter also asks the oil giant to fund the state’s purchase of about 80 acres of land near the lake to facilitate monitoring and management of the property. The letter doesn’t give an estimated cost for the land.
Government attorneys have said the rupture, which dumped tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil, caused more than $57 million in property damage to a subdivision in Mayflower. The company settled a lawsuit last year with dozens of families whose properties were damaged.
Exxon Mobil spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry declined to comment on the commission’s compensation request, but said the company would work with “the appropriate agencies” to address the claims.
“We regret this spill happened and are committed to learning from it to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” Eikenberry said.
The commission along with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are involved in the settlement negotiations. The public will also be able to comment before any settlement is finalized, said Keith Stephens, a commission spokesman.
The pipeline runs about 850 miles (1,368 kilometres) through Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Texas. It was closed shortly after the spill, but a segment in Texas has since reopened.