WASHINGTON, June 13 The U.S. Justice Department
filed a joint lawsuit with Arkansas on Thursday against oil
producer Exxon Mobil Corp over the pipeline spill in
March of thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil in a
The 95,000 barrels per day Pegasus line has been shut since
spilling the oil in Mayflower, Arkansas, where cleanup
operations continue. U.S. oil pipelines rarely spill in towns.
The Justice Department said it is seeking civil penalties
against Exxon under federal law.
Arkansas is seeking civil penalties for alleged violations
of state waste and pollution laws. The state also seeks a
judgment on Exxon's liability for damages related to the spill
of about 5,000 barrels that contaminated 22 homes, forcing
residents to evacuate.
An Exxon spokesman said the company has yet to review the
allegations and had yet to be formally served with the
The spill sparked debate about the wisdom of shipping heavy
Canadian crude across the United States, as the State Department
considers TransCanada Corp's application for the
Keystone XL pipeline, which would link Alberta's oil sands to
refineries in Texas.
The lawsuit said the Pegasus pipeline was buried about two
feet below the ground in the Mayflower neighborhood, which is
about 25 miles from Little Rock, the state capital.
Federal pipeline regulators this month gave Exxon time to
conduct a second round of testing on Pegasus after the company
said an initial investigation into why the nearly 70-year-old
line failed was inconclusive. The pipeline runs
from Illinois to Texas.
Exxon installed a new section of the pipeline in April after
it removed a 52-foot-long (15.8 meter) damaged section, but it
has yet to file a restart plan with federal regulators.