Exxon Pipeline Co. to pay US$ 1.43 million for 2012 Louisiana spill
Exxon Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has agreed to settle a federal suit out of court by paying a US$ 1.43 million fine.
The company agreed on Tuesday to pay the civil penalty for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act during a 2012 crude pipeline spill in Louisiana.
The United States’ complaint, also filed on Tuesday, alleged that Exxon discharged at least 2800 bbls (117 000 gallons) of crude oil from its North Line pipeline near Torbet, Louisiana.
The complaint was filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the DOJ, Exxon’s 20/22 in. diameter pipeline ruptured about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge on 28 April, 2012. The rupture spilled crude into the surrounding area that then flowed into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe.
The penalty is in addition to the costs Exxon incurred responding to the spill and repairing the pipeline.
Exxon is finishing its cleanup of the spill as ordered by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
The company is also doing follow-up work and operating under the corrective action order issued by the United States Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The payment will be be deposited into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund managed by the National Pollution Fund Center.
The trust fund is used to pay for damages and federal responses stemming from oil and hazardous substances spills.
The Clean Water Act
The DOJ and EPA specifically stated that Exxon violated section 311 of the Clean Water Act in the incident.
The Clean Water Act states that it is unlawful to allow oil or any other sort of toxic material to run into US inland waters or coastlines.
“Oil spills into our nation’s waters endanger public health and the environment and warrant concerted enforcement efforts,” said Sam Hirsch of the DOJ’s environmental division. “Today’s settlement achieves a just result and furthers our enforcement mission.”