Politics

Republican congressman supports relocating Exxon pipeline after oil spill

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin wrote a letter to Exxon Mobil’s CEO in support of relocating the Pegasus pipeline, which ruptured last month, citing concerns over the pipeline’s close proximity to state water supplies.

The letter was written in support of a resolution passed by the Central Arkansas Water utility requiring Exxon Mobil to relocate the pipeline, which spilled about 5,000 barrels of oil in Mayflower, Ark. recently.

Mayflower is located in the 2nd Congressional District in Arkansas, which is represented by Griffin.

“We must do all we can to prevent accidents like this from happening, and I remain committed to ensuring that the concerns of the residents of Mayflower are addressed truthfully and fairly,” Griffin wrote in a letter. “Currently, the Pegasus Pipeline runs through about 13 miles of the Lake Maumelle watershed and also crosses some of the lake’s tributaries. I am especially concerned that the steepness of the shoreline at Lake Maumelle could exacerbate contamination of the water supply in the event of an oil spill and make cleanup more difficult.”

Lake Maumelle supplies 60 percent of the water used by the 400,000 residents of the central Arkansas region. However, the pipeline spill from last month did not take place in the Lake Maumelle watershed. Exxon Mobil said Mayflower’s drinking supply had not been contaminated by the spill.

Exxon has said it will pay for the cleanup and honor all valid claims of those affected by the spill, including the possibility of buying out homes affected by the spill.

“ExxonMobil is developing a plan to address concerns about the long-term value of homes in the North Woods neighborhood up to and including home purchases,” the company said in a press release.

As of April 12, some 237 claims have been filed by homeowners. Two homeowners have filed lawsuits against Exxon the company.

“I urge ExxonMobil to develop and implement CAW’s request and work to provide an effective plan to relocate the pipeline,” Griffin said.

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