Judge approves Exxon Mobil settlement over 2013 Arkansas spill

Aug 12 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday approved Exxon Mobil Corp’s $5.07 million settlement of charges that it violated the federal Clean Water Act and state environmental laws in connection with a 2013 oil spill in central Arkansas.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock, Arkansas called Exxon Mobil’s consent decree with the United States and Arkansas “fair, reasonable, and adequate, and consistent with the Clean Water Act.”

The rupture of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline led to a March 29, 2013 spill that caused about 3,190 barrels, or 134,000 gallons, of oil to flow through Mayflower, Arkansas and nearby waterways, including Lake Conway, which flows into the Arkansas River.

Exxon agreed to pay $4.19 million in civil penalties, upgrade water quality in Lake Conway, and take steps to respond better to potential future spills. It did not admit liability.

Baker overruled an objection from Central Arkansas Water, a water system that serves 400,000 people, which said the accord did not do enough to protect against potential spills.

The Pegasus pipeline runs about 850 miles (1,370 km) from Illinois to Texas and transports Canadian heavy crude oil. It was built in the 1940s.

The case is U.S. et al v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Co et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, No. 13-00355. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)