Exxon Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Arkansas Lake Conway Residents
A class action lawsuit has been brought against ExxonMobil in Arkansas, seeking to cover property owners along Lake Conway after a tar sands pipeline fractured earlier this year, resulting in a release, discharge, and migration of dangerous and toxic chemicals.
On March 29, Arkansas recorded its worst ever tar sand spill caused by the fracturing of the Pegasus pipeline, belonging to ExxonMobile.
The spill released dangerous hydrocarbons, poisonous, carcinogenic and toxic chemicals including a black tar like substance directly from the pipeline, where it has since migrated into the coves, outlets, and real property. Additionally, the pollution released hydrogen sulfide into Lake Conway, which is a poisonous gas now emanating from the lake and into the air.
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Lake Conway is the largest manmade lake in the United States, covering approximately 6,700 acres located near Mayflower, in Faulkner County, Arkansas. The Lake leads into many other creeks and is commonly used for recreational activities including fishing, boating, and residential living.
The Exxon class action lawsuit for Lake Conway residents is pending in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Arkansas Western Division, with an amended complaint (PDF) filed by Ellen Burgess, Kathy Ouellette, Howard Senteney, and Margaret Roberts on June 27. The plaintiffs have brought the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated individuals, seeking class action status.
Plaintiff’s claim that the tar sand spill has contaminated the waters and air along the lake and has also impacted and interfered with putative class members’ real property.
The Pegasus pipeline was built in the 1940’s, and initially pumped oil from Texas to the Northern United States. However, it was shut down roughly 60 years later due to complications in the pipeline. The pump was shut down for several years before ExxonMobile reversed the flow and began pumping tar sands from Western Canada down through the United States. ExxonMobil also increased the quantity the of flow by 50% increasing from 66,000 barrels per day to 99,000 barrels per day, allegedly without upgrading or replacing the pipeline for this much use after already having experienced complications.
Roughly four years after ExxonMobile starting pumping tar sands through the susceptible pipeline, the pipe ruptured in Arkansas causing the mass pollution in Lake Conway’s waters, inlets, coves, air, and real property.
The Lake Conway class action lawsuit claims ExxonMobile was aware that the pipeline was vulnerable, unsafe, and deficient yet they discarded an idea to replace the pipeline with a newer more safe and efficient pipeline to increase profits. The Pegasus pipeline is 20 inches in diameter and has a wall thickness of 0.312 with 95,000 barrels per day flow capacity.
The complaint alleges that to increase profits, ExxonMobile not only exceeded the capacity of barrels per day to be filled, but ran a more abrasive and dangerous substance through the Pegasus Pipeline that was known to have seam leaks. The complaints also alleges ExxonMobile knew the pipeline was not designed for tar sands and that pumping dangerous and toxic Tar Sands through its existing infrastructure was an obvious risk to the public safety and failed to disclose the condition of the pipeline to the public before its use.
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