Oil Company Says Pipeline To Stay In Arkansas Watershed

Jul 31, 2015

A drainage ditch filled with oil from the Pegasus Pipeline rupture in Mayflower in 2014.
Credit npr.org (Jacob Slaton/Reuters/Landov)

Two subsidiaries of ExxonMobil say they won't move the Pegasus Pipeline from beneath the watershed where Central Arkansas gets most of its drinking water.

Earlier this month, Central Arkansas Water utility officials asked a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement among the companies and state and federal agencies over a 2013 oil spill in Mayflower unless the companies agreed to move the pipeline out of the Lake Maumelle watershed.

The proposed settlement would require the subsidiaries to pay about $5 million in penalties for state and federal violations caused when a 22-foot portion of the Pegasus Pipeline ruptured, spilling oil into a cove of Lake Conway. The companies said in a court filing Friday the pipeline's location was agreed to in 1956 and the spill didn't affect the watershed.