April 8, 2013 — Two residents of Mayflower, Arkansas have filed a class action lawsuit against ExxonMobil for an oil spill on March 29 that spilled at least 19,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil into the streets and yards of homes in the North Woods subdivision. The plaintiffs, Kimla Greene and Kathryn Chunn, are seeking more than $5 million in compensation and punitive damages on behalf of all property owners within a 3,000 foot radius of the ruptured pipeline.
Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Brian Miller and Magistrate Jerome Kearney have been assigned to the class action. Furthermore, Arkansas state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has subpoenaed Exxon and asked for information relevant to the oil spill, including inspection reports.
Exxon has stated that the pipeline was inspected in 2010 and again in February, with no problems.
However, the class action lawsuit alleges that the pipeline was “in an unsafe, defective, and deficient condition presenting an immediate environmental harm,” and also raised concerns about the safety of the pipeline in the rest of Arkansas.
The Pegasus Pipeline, which was built in the 1940s and is more than 65 years old, was originally designed to transport thinner, high-grade oil. However, just a few years ago, Exxon increased capacity by more than 50% — an extra 30,000 barrels per day — and started using it to transport diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Canada’s Alberta region.
The problem with bitumen is that it is a very thick, sticky, low-quality petroleum oil that required high pressure to pump over long distances. It also sinks in water, unlike higher-quality oil. When an oil spill occurs, bitumen can rapidly sink into the groundwater and emit highly-toxic fumes into the air.
The lawsuit alleges that a catastrophic break was “inevitable” due to the increased oil capacity in the ancient pipeline. In addition to the environmental damage, the class action is seeking compensation for lost property values, and more:
“The property owners in Arkansas along the Pegasus Pipeline have decreased real property damage because their property is located in close proximity to an unsafe and defective pipeline, which has caused the worst oil spill in Arkansas history contaminating soil, impacting neighborhoods, forcing evacuation, migrating into surface and underground water sources and impacting air quality.”
Do I have an Exxon Oil Spill Lawsuit in Arkansas?
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