Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has asked Exxon Mobil Corp. preserve and maintain all documents and all other information related to Friday’s extensive oil spill and ongoing cleanup efforts in Mayflower.
According to published reports, clean up crews have recovered more than 12,000 barrels of oil and water following the Pegasus pipeline break in the central Arkansas town. The pipeline is reportedly more than 65 years old, and carries crude oil from Canada to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.
In a letter to Exxon Mobil officials, McDaniel said his office will open an investigation into the cause and the impact of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline rupture. Thousands of gallons of crude oil leaked into a residential neighborhood near Lake Conway, leaving significant damage to the State’s environment and to property in the surrounding area.
“This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas's natural resources. Homeowners have been forced from their homes as a result of this spill,” McDaniel said. “Requesting that Exxon secure these documents and data is the first step in determining what happened and preserving evidence for any future litigation.”
Exxon officials have said they will cooperate with McDaniel’s office.
McDaniel’s letter asks the oil company to require any affected employees and affiliated organizations to preserve all “documents, data compilations (including electronically recorded and stored data), tangible objects or other information” relevant to the pipeline rupture, spill and cleanup. He requested that Exxon Mobil take all necessary measures to prevent destruction or modification of those records.
The Attorney General said that his office will evaluate all appropriate measures to represent the State and its agencies, including the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.