From: Climate Progress
By Emily Atkin
CREDIT: Greenpeace USA Flickr
An Arkansas federal judge on Monday refused to let ExxonMobil off the hook from a lawsuit claiming the company violated federal and state clean water laws when its Pegasus Pipeline ruptured in March 2013, spilling approximately 210,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude oil into the small community of Mayflower.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker denied the company’s motion to dismiss, saying the lawsuit offered sufficient proof that ExxonMobil may have committed two violations of the Clean Water Act, two violations of Arkansas’ air and water regulations, and one hazardous materials violation. The lawsuit, brought by both the federal and Arkansas governments, says ExxonMobil should pay up to $4,300 per barrel of oil released — a maximum of $21.5 million — and up to $45,000 per day in civil penalties for violations since the spill.
Residents of Mayflower have struggled to cope with the impacts of the now-infamous spill, which saw thick, gooey tar sands oil running onto a residential street, forcing the evacuation of 22 homes. Many residents have reported suffering from dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting — classic symptoms of short-term exposure to the chemicals found in crude oil — up to five months after it occurred. The lingering stench was apparently so bad that Exxon offered to buy out 62 homes in the area. The company even had to tear down a few houses and bought 20 more from affected residents. On the one year anniversary, residents said they were still attempting to regain a sense of normalcy. MORE