AG: Oil Pipeline Gash Is 22 Feet Long

Apr 10, 2013

A photo of maps and other documents provided by ExxonMobil to the Arkansas Attorney General's office.
Credit Arkansas Attorney General's Office

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says investigators are beginning to go through documents related to a pipeline that ruptured nearly two weeks ago.

Late Wednesday more than 12,000 pages of subpoenaed material were delivered to his office.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel speaking to reporters Wednesday.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

McDaniel also disclosed during a press conference that the hole in the pipeline is “substantially larger than many of us initially thought,” measuring more than 22 feet long and two inches wide.

Three times this week, investigators from his office have revisited the site of the spill in a neighborhood in Mayflower, McDanel said. But he still has unanswered questions.

“We do not know what caused such a catastrophic breach in this pipeline’s integrity. We still do not know how much oil was released. We still do not know the exact make up of the crude itself or the chemical solvents used in the transportation process,” McDaniel said.

The Attorney General is asking ExxonMobil to immediately establish a $4 million fund to cover the state’s investigative expenses.

McDaniel said the office is bringing in additional investigators, attorneys and technical advisors to assist in the probe, which he said is a precursor to litigation.

Among those helping is former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt, who is a native Arkansan, and McDaniel said will “bring world-class experience and a personal love of Arkansas to the effort.”  Witt led FEMA during the Clinton Administration.

ExxonMobil has said it is fully cooperating in the investigation.

Meanwhile the cleanup from the spill continues in Mayflower, where residents of 22 houses were forced to evacuate.