5. Arkansas Oil Spill: U.S. Government and Arkansas Sue ExxonMobil Over Spill
Ironically, the spill, which occurred on March 29, came just days after the company was awarded the Green Cross for Safety medal, in honor of its "comprehensive commitment to safety excellence," by the National Safety Council. Clearly it was a bit premature.
The Justice Department and the State of Arkansas are seeking damages for alleged violations of federal and state waste and pollution laws respectively, while Arkansas is also seeking a ruling that Exxon is liable to pay for damages resulting from the spill of about 5,000 barrels worth of oil. During a news conference, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said that the "lawsuit is based on the fact that the pipeline rupture caused the release of Canadian tar sands oil that polluted the state’s air, soil and waters, has caused a significant and lasting negative impact upon our state’s environment, and Exxon as responsible party for the incident should be penalized for those impacts." The company says that it is aware that the lawsuit has been filed but has yet to review the allegations against it.
As TransCanada, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, has stepped up its efforts to combat opposition to the project by hiring a "communications specialist" with no known experience on energy and environmental issues, the damage caused by the spill in Mayflower highlights just a few of the very real dangers posed by the short-sighted project.