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A Federal class action lawsuit has been filed by two women who live near an ExxonMobil pipeline that ruptured last week and spilled thousands of barrels of oil in central Arkansas.

       Arkansas Northwoods Oil Spill
                                                  photo: American Red Cross

The class-action complaint from Kimla Greene and Kathryn Jane Roachell Chunn comes a week after ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.'s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock. Crews are still working to clean up oil that spewed onto lawns and roadways and almost fouled nearby Lake Conway.

The women are seeking money to make up for "a permanent diminishment in property value," according to the complaint. Their complaint says the women are bringing their lawsuit on their own behalf and for other people who live near the pipeline in Arkansas.

One of the women's lawyers, Phillip Duncan, wouldn't spell out exactly how much money they're looking for, but their lawsuit says they're seeking more than $5 million in damages for property owners. The lawsuit said the part of the pipeline that ruptured was "in an unsafe, defective and deficient condition presenting an immediate environmental harm" on March 29 -- the day it ruptured. "The Pegasus Pipeline running throughout the state of Arkansas is most likely to be similarly situated and maintained ..." Greene and Chunn's lawyers wrote in the complaint.

The Pegasus pipeline, which runs from Patoka, Ill., to the Texas Gulf Coast, was originally built in 1947 and 1948, according to federal pipeline safety officials. It is currently out of service. For that to change, ExxonMobil would need written approval from a federal pipeline safety official, according to the order from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Arkansas Attorney General is confirming that indeed there is oil in Lake Conroy.

"I think it's very fair to say that Lake Conway has not received catastrophic damage, but of course there is oil in Lake Conway."

The state of Arkansas is preparing for litigation. McDaniel says they have sent subpoenas and are coordinating with the Department of Environmental Equality, the EPA, and the Department of Transportation Pipeline Safety.

It's going to be very difficult if impossible to repair or rebuild the Pegasus pipeline. This is the way we have to fight; one pipeline at a time.

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Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Hawks.

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