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Government Officials Ask Exxon to Remove Pegasus Pipeline from Lake Maumelle Watershed

The coalition says the recent ruptures in Mayflower and Ripley County, Missouri have elevated concerns regarding the risks involved with the Pegasus Pipeline running through Lake Maumelle, which serves as a drinking water supply for Central Arkansas Water.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A coalition of Central Arkansas government officials has sent a list of requests to ExxonMobil and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to be completed before restarting the Pegasus Pipeline.

Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor, along with Representative Tim Griffin, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines and Central Arkansas Water sent the letter on May 15.

The coalition says the recent ruptures in Mayflower and Ripley County, Missouri have elevated concerns regarding the risks involved with the Pegasus Pipeline running through Lake Maumelle, which serves as a drinking water supply for Central Arkansas Water.

Writing to Exxon Mobile, the coalition outlined immediate actions to be completed before restarting the Pegasus Pipeline, including an integrity analysis of the portion of the pipeline that crosses Lake Maumelle and remote-controlled valves on each side of the pipeline crossings.

Short-term actions to be completed within the next 12 months included an updated tactical response plan, annual funding for quarterly emergency response exercises, external leak-detection technology and additional onsite storage containers.

Finally, the coalition requested that the Pegasus Pipeline be relocated out of the Lake Maumelle watershed within the next 3-5 years.

In a letter to the PHMSA, the coalition asked that they deny any request by ExxonMobil to restart the pipeline until the immediate actions outlined in their letter are completed and commitments to the short and long-term actions have been made.

To read the letter written to ExxonMobil, download the attachment below.

The letter to PHMSA reads as follows:

"As you know, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company's (EMPCO) Pegasus Pipeline suffered a failure in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29, 2013 and subsequently on May 1, 2013 in Ripley County, Missouri. These ruptures demonstrate the adverse personal, environmental, public health and economic impacts of a pipeline break and call into question the integrity of the 65+ year old Pegasus Pipeline.

As representatives of nearly 400,000 individuals in the Central Arkansas Region, the organizations and individuals represented on this letter have grave concerns about the risks posed by a pipeline with questionable integrity traversing the watershed of Lake Maumelle, a drinking supply for Central Arkansas Water. The Lake Maumelle Watershed is located approximately 8 miles southwest of the break in Mayflower. The Pegasus Pipeline crosses through the drainage area of Lake Maumelle for nearly 13.5 miles.

Senator John Boozman, Senator Mark Pryor, Representative Tim Griffin, Mayor Mark Stodola and the City of Little Rock, Mayor Joe Smith and the City of North Little Rock, Judge Buddy Villines and Pulaski County, and Central Arkansas Water (collectively, the "Lake Maumelle Governmental Stakeholders") wish to express grave concern over the pipeline's presence in the Lake Maumelle Watershed.

BOLD We request that PHMSA deny any request from EMPCO to restart the Pegasus Pipeline until all of the items identified for immediate action in the attached letter to EMPCO have been addressed and EMPCO has made commitments to complete the short-term and long-term actions identified in the attached letter.

In addition, the Lake Maumelle Governmental Stakeholders request from PHMSA:
The most recent integrity assessment results from the portion of Pegasus Pipeline that traverses the Lake Maumelle Watershed, reported as 2010 and 2013.
The integrity management plan for the portion of Pegasus Pipeline that traverses the Lake Maumelle Watershed.
The most recent Emergency Response Plans and/or Individual Facility Plans for the portion of Pegasus Pipeline that traverses the Lake Maumelle Watershed.
Any other reports regarding leaks or ruptures of the Pegasus Pipeline, regardless of location, from its construction to present.

All of the immediate, short-term and long-term actions requested in our letter to EMPCO are necessary to ensure the long-term protection of Lake Maumelle water quality and the 400,000 individuals that depend on this water supply. We expect a written response from PHMSA within seven days regarding our request that PHMSA deny any restart request until these actions have been taken."

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