State, federal authorities file joint complaint against ExxonMobil
NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - State and federal authorities have filed a joint complaint against ExxonMobil in federal court.
The complaint starts with the rupture of the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower on March 29, but Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel also claims Exxon is illegally storing hazardous waste, further endangering the Arkansas environment.
"Exxon has stored its waste at a site on Highway 36 in Conway improperly and illegally and without seeking a permit from the state," McDaniel said in a Thursday press conference.
He's referring to frac tanks where hazardous waste from the Mayflower oil spill is being stored. The Department of Environmental Quality says they sent a letter to ExxonMobil at the beginning of May warning of the violation and asking them to move the waste to an adequate facility.
McDaniel said the company did nothing.
"To store this material without following the law in advance and then not to remove it after being demanded to do so, we felt was particularly concerning and should be included in this litigation."
The pipeline rupture spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil and forced the evacuation of more than 20 homes. Some nearby residents have sued the company. The spill's center was near Lake Conway and more than 200 birds, mammals and turtles had to be cleaned by volunteers.
McDaniel, the U.S. attorney general, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA all signed onto the complaint.
"I also hope that by coming together in a single lawsuit, Exxon understands how serious this situation is to both the United States and to Arkansas," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer.
ExxonMobil spokesperson Aaron Stryk told Channel 7 News in a written statement Thursday afternoon, "We are aware of the filing; however, we have yet to review the allegations and have not been formally served with the complaint. That said, we will continue to cooperate with all federal, state and local agencies."
If authorities win their lawsuit, Exxon could end up paying $25,000 for every day since May that it has not complied with Arkansas' demand that the waste be moved.
Thursday's complaint means five total lawsuits have been filed in the aftermath of the oil spill. Click the name of those who filed in the list below to read their respective lawsuits in their entirety.