Mayflower Oil Spill
10:29 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Lawsuit Against Exxon Claims Company Knowingly Concealed Pipeline Defects

Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near evacuated homes near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Ark., on March 31. An Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil was shut off after it ruptured March 29, causing an evacuation of 22 homes.
Credit npr.org (Jacob Slaton/Reuters/Landov)

A lawsuit has been filed against Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company, and the planners and developers of the Mayflower subdivision where a pipeline ruptured and spilled almost 150,000 gallons of oil into a neighborhood on March 29, 2013.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of Mayflower residents affected by the oil spill. 

Claims made in the lawsuit include:

  • Exxon was aware of problems with the pipeline before the oil spill and knowingly concealed pipeline defects.
     
  • The pipeline was meant to carry crude oil and could not handle the more abrasive tar sands oil flowing through it. The abrasive tar sands oil created stress demands that led to dangerous conditions in which a rupture was inevitable.
     
  • The oil spill has damaged the city of Mayflower and negatively impacted growth and property values of the entire community.
     
  • Carcinogenic chemicals and other volatile compounds have been detected in the air near the spill site weeks after the spill. 
  • Exxon took 18 minutes to shut down the pipeline. Which is double the amount of time established for a "worst case scenario" in their own emergency response plan. This led to twice the amount of oil being spilled.
  • Exxon was negligent in hiring the Center for Toxicology and Enviromental Health (CTEH) to monitor air and water safety. Members of Congress asked for British Petroleum to fire CTEH during the BP Gulf Oil Spill because they were alleged to promote corporate interests at the expense of public health.