Class-action lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil for Pegasus oil spill

08 April 2013 16:07  [Source: ICIS news]

Class-action lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil for Pegasus oil spillHOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil on Monday declined to comment on a class-action lawsuit filed last week against the US energy giant after the 29 March Pegasus pipeline rupture and oil spill that forced the evacuation of 22 homes in Mayflower, Arkansas.

“We do not comment on legal matters,” said company spokesperson Kim Jordan.

Kathryn Chunn and Kimla Greene on Friday filed the complaint to US District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas on behalf of themselves and others similarly affected.

The lawsuit is seeking more than $5m (€3.85m) in damages.

“This Arkansas class-action lawsuit involves the worst crude oil and tar sands spill in Arkansas history and directly impacts all individuals who reside by the ExxonMobil Pegasus Pipeline,” the court document said.

“Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to recover for a permanent diminishment in property value for being located near the unsafe and defective pipeline on behalf of all property owners similarly situated throughout the state of Arkansas who are in close proximity to the Pegasus Pipeline,” it added.

In its latest update on Saturday, ExxonMobil estimated that 5,000 bbl of oil was spilled in the incident, adding that a final estimate will be released once the line has been repaired and refilled.

The company said that much of the free-standing oil has been recovered, and most of the impacted soil has been removed from the six homes impacted by the spill.

The main body of Lake Conway remains oil free, and there has been no impact on the drinking water supply, ExxonMobil added.

On Friday, the Arkansas attorney general’s office gave ExxonMobil a deadline of 10 April to produce investigative reports, inspection documents and other information connected to the incident.

ExxonMobil also was issued an order from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that requires the company to take “necessary corrective action to protect public, property and the environment from potential hazards” associated with the incident, said the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

ExxonMobil must obtain written approval from the director of PHMSA’s southwest region before the Pegasus pipeline can return to service.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has categorised the incident as a major spill, and a number of federal, state and local agencies are assisting ExxonMobil with response efforts.

The cause of the spill is under investigation, the company has said.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Tracy Dang
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