Earlier this year, an ExxonMobil pipeline oil spill dumped around 5,000 barrels of heavy crude oil in suburban Mayflower, AR. It was a mess, and prompted a discussion about oil pipelines in the US, most notably the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Yesterday, the US Department of Justice and the state of Arkansas filed a joint lawsuit against the oil company over the spill, claiming Exxon violated state pollution laws, according to Reuters. ExxonMobil declined to comment on the matter to Reuters, saying it needed

Reading the joint complaint (PDF), the DOJ and Arkansas allege that there was an "unlawful discharge of heavy crude oil" from the 850-mile Pegasus Pipeline, which was first built in the 1940s and runs from Illinois to Texas. It usually transports 95,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil per day, but have been closed since the spill.

The spilled oil "caused and continues to cause pollution to waters of the State," the complaint says, and the parts that ExxonMobil was supposed to have cleaned up remain a mess. The state and the DOJ are seeking civil penalties of "$1,100 per barrel discharged ... or if the violation is the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct, no more than $4,300 per barrel discharged," among other fines. You can see a video of the spill below.


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  • 31 Comments
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Obviously I am not big on higher gas taxes. Nor do I deride the oil companies for excessive profits (their margin is actually very small). However, with the profits that they do make, it isn't too u reasonable to expect that they might have a good maintenance program, and not have 60 year oil pipes. If one does not replace pipe, one can 'rehabilitate' without shutting them down for long periods of time. Liners can be added, and at the very least, mobile x-ray machines for Inspections to determine potential areas of weakness, etc.
      kruisin66
      • 1 Year Ago
      Everyone does know that when oil companies pay huge fines that it just comes from the consumer in higher pump prices. Right!
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kruisin66
        Go take an econ 101 class. They can't raise the price since their competitors would not.
      omni007
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ethanol spill? Oh wait, those don't destroy wildlife or increase cancer rates. But it might hurt your engine, so it's EVIL
      Rowena
      • 1 Year Ago
      ONLINE JOBS INFO -- like Matthew answered I am shocked that someone able to make $7924 in one month on the computer. did you see this web link -...-----> www.Jam40.cℴm
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Like every industry, companies in the oil industry are responsible for the maintenance and safety of infrastructure. The the US Department of Justice and the state of Arkansas, have a public duty to investigate and take action against those companies who fail to adequately maintain infrastructure such as pipelines. Although in past eras this may have been a difficult and even impossible task, with the technology available today, pipeline spills caused by a lack of maintenance, just shouldn't occur. When they do, it's the duty of the DOJ and the state authorities to punish the offending corporation, according to the level of culpability. However, the media conclusion that the pipeline is faulty because it's nearly 70 years old, isn't necessarily true. Exxon, under EPA, DOJ, supervision, have removed a 52 foot long damaged section of the pipeline, for further investigation after the company said an initial investigation was inconclusive. Federal pipeline regulators have given Exxon more time to review the allegations and be formally served with the complaint. It's unlikely, but possible, that the damaged section may have been damaged unintentionally, naturally, or even been sabotaged. Pipelines are an economic and environmentally preferable method of shipping oil, but pipelines, like any infrastructure, are vulnerable to unforeseen sabotage and damage from naturally occurring catastrophe. The issue has been complicated by the politics around the Keystone proposal. The DOJ must be very sure of it's allegations, or it will appear to be launching a politically motivated prosecution. Oil pipelines are very vulnerable infrastructure from a security perspective. The federal regulators have an obligation to insist on the very best maintenance procedures, and constant upgrading of technology to minimise all spills, even those that are the result of malicious damage.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        "It's unlikely, but possible" . . . so why are you mentioning this it is unlikely and you have ZERO evidence for it? Kiss that corporation butt, Marco.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec, As opposed to the butt you kiss....? You also have ''Zero" evidence to the contrary ! But, then in your world you need no evidence, or objectivity, just prejudice and a good old fashioned lynching.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Spec! (Wow, my auto correct fixed your name!) Was that nice? That was I uncharacteristic of you. You are the nice liberal (no offense Rak...cool...). Although admittedly, it is probably better not to speculate about sabotage until it is found
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      In related news, an Arizona solar farm is being sued for leaking sunlight. With sunlight splashing all over the state, old retirees are heard muttering how durn hot it is, and that "spring has done sprung". The solar farm has responded by pointing out that the additional sunlight isn't coming from a leak from their solar panels, but was due to the natural progression from winter into spring into summer. Locals seemed skeptical about this response, and are looking into whether there is a cover-up or conspiracy.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @raktmn
        I heard that wind turbines are slowing the earth's spin!
          Vlad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          As they should. Why are we assuming that the current rotational speed is best for us?
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @raktmn
        I once dropped a solar panel on my foot and it hurt really bad for day or two. I'm gearing up for my 2nd PV system. I hope I don't have another such industrial accident again!
          Ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I like the Enphase microinverters, just make sure your panels work with them.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Some don't? Thanks for the heads up.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Enphase microconverters make adding to your system easy from what I understand. That's the route I'm thinking about going.
      Dave D
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm siiiiiiinging in the raaiiin, just siiiinging in the raaaaaaiiiiin, what a glorious feeeeling I'm happy again... Opps, sorry, wrong movie. Exxon will pay a "big fine" that is equual to about 15 minutes of their annual profit, greens will gripe, politicians will take credit for it, we'll all keep buying gas for our cars and forget about this the next time Brittany shaves her head or Amanda does drugs. Why even get worked up about it. Our economy depends on it, we won't convert the the US fleet off oil for another 30 years at best. If we want to do something productive, then buy an EV or a CNG car or even a HFCV if they become available. I've noticed that NOTHING gets people to believe change is possible lime leading by example. One person at work bought an EV back in Feb and now we have five...and still growing.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        Oh absolutely. You can never expect the government to do the right thing. They've promised us Americans positive movement away from oil since the 1970's oil crisis ( who you can fault our government for as well ), but all we've seen is more and more wars to keep the oil flowing on our government's terms. I built my first eBike 3 years ago and probably 10k+ people have seen me doing things like pedaling up a steep hill at 20-40mph. Many a teenager has stared at my bicycle slack-jawed because they watched me blow by their car at the last stop light ( yeah, ~100ft-lb to the ground is pretty fast on a bicycle, trust me :) ). I've let lycra guys on road bikes draft me and they always tell me that they've never ridden that fast before ( my bike is upright, so i'm a great aerodynamic aid! ) and then start asking all the usual questions, some even get interested in building one. It's the availability of good alternative transport and the good word of first adopters that will sell the alternatives. Ah, and the 4 dollar gallon gasoline we have here in the states that helps too.. :p
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          That's awesome! I've been waiting for something like the Rimac stuff or the Yasa Motors guys to have something available for public consumption to do a conversion on the little MR2 I bought. Almost there now!
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Happy Dan Review of 2Wheel on his Bike :( light Weight :( aero :) cheap :) electric :| performance (I don't even want to visualize that) 2Wheel on his bike: 2.5 Happy Dans. :) :) :|
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        Dave D, You are correct, in the end 'fines' are not really effective. If fines increased to really hurt Exxon, it would simply divest ownership of the pipeline to a holding company, which would then lease the pipeline to an operating company, and avoid the fines by corporate manoeuvres. But the right to operate a pipeline needs a licence or permit. A penalty involving the loss of licence, with forfeiture and public sale of the pipeline, (and accompanying infrastructure) is within the power of Congress to legislate, and would certainly up the ante for Oil companies, and pipeline operators, to improve maintenance and safety standards !
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          I see where you're going, but wouldn't they just lease the pipeline back from the company who bought the rights later? Hell, they might even come out ahead as they could just keep supplying the crude and let the new company deal with the risk and cost of the pipeline. Bottom line, we need the oil for a long time to come. The only way to stop these types of incidents is to move to alternatives...and we simply don't have the discipline or will to do it. And it's a teadeoff anyway..for all the evils of oil and fracking...it is the engine of our economy. We can't force a whole sale change to anything unless were willing to take some serious pain in the process. Of course, I believe its not as bad as people think because there is also oppotunity for new business and new money in the transition. So we have to have the strength to not let the existing energy companies and their lobby pass laws to disadvantage the new entrants.
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      "ExxonMobil declined to comment on the matter to Reuters, saying it needed" Yes? Needed what?
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        @ ctionable Mango Exxon needed time to complete it's investigation, and receive the DOJ's charges.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        We normally expect that from Danny...but Sebastian? Isn't he the editor?
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Grumpy cat says.... 'Good!'
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure it will have a positive benefit to everyone's health as well. - sarc
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Ah, the broken window fallacy..
        John Doe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        You're also forgetting they just created jobs. Clean up, health care, landscaping reporting etc. The oil companies give and give--we should be more grateful. There are alternatives now. Maybe these people will now look into some.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Doe
          Yes. I've heard the radio spots about how BP cares and has made a commitment to the Gulf of New Mexico. Yes, we are the users, but you want me to be happy the pusher is nice some of the time.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Said Californy is the place ya want to be..."
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