(CAV News) – First we shared the story that it appeared Exxon ,thanks to a technicality ,would be getting out paying for a spill that wasn’t technically considered “oil.”
The central Arkansas spill caused by Exxon’s aging Pegasus pipeline has reportedly unleashed 10,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude – but a technicality says it’s not oil, letting the energy giant off the hook from paying into a national cleanup fund.
Legally speaking, diluted bitumen like the heavy crude that’s overrun Mayflower, Arkansas, is not classified as ‘oil’. And it’s that very distinction that exempts Exxon from contributing to the government’s oil spillage cleanup fund.
22 people were evacuated forced into hotels, with thousands of “oily like” barrels swarming the streets in an Arkansas town. This left many outraged as many didn’t even know the town of Mayflower had a pipeline.
Here’s what a resident told RT:
RT: Have there been any local protests against ExxonMobil regarding the spill? How are Mayflower residents reacting?
CH: There is some anger. There was some shock in the community. A lot of people weren’t even aware that the pipeline ran through the area. There was a community meeting on Saturday afternoon with some Exxon officials present, and there was a lot of frustration shown at the meeting. Very few answers were given, and the people in attendance were quite angry.
However, Exxon has come out to say they will pay for the clean up costs that flooded the Mayflower streets, killing four ducks and forcing over 20 evacuations. They also denied any claim that they were never going to clean up the spill.
Then today, according to AP, jurors in New Hampshire hit the Texas-based company, Exxon, with a $236 million in damages to fix groundwater contamination. This is by far the states largest verdict.
Even though it appears that Exxon will be paying out of their ass with clean up costs, according to the article it only represents two days profit for the company.
Fadel Gheit, managing director of oil and gas research and a senior analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said the verdict won’t put a dent in Exxon Mobil’s bottom line.
“Exxon will probably make close to a $40 billion profit this year,” Gheit said. “That’s two days’ work.”
He said it’s no surprise that Exxon Mobil would take the state’s 10-year-old contamination lawsuit to trial, saying the company “will make you sweat for every dollar you think you’re going to get.” Company leaders view it as a matter of principle, he said.
Jurors found that Exxon Mobil was negligent in adding MTBE to its gasoline and that MTBE was a defective product. They also found Exxon Mobil liable for failing to warn distributors and consumers about its contaminating characteristics.
Sources: ABC News, RT, Associated Press