Monday, July 29, 2013

Central Arkansas Water no closer to getting data from Exxon to ensure safety of watershed

Posted By on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

ExxonMobil Pipeline president Gary Pruessing responded today to a letter sent last week by representatives of Central Arkansas Water requesting data on the integrity of the Pegasus Pipeline, which runs through the watershed. Pruessing's response? No dice.

Among his excuses for not releasing any of the requested inspections or reports: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is calling the shots in the wake of the Mayflower spill. ExxonMobil is focused on Mayflower. The pipeline is shut down and the investigation of what caused the Mayflower rupture is ongoing (a metallurgical report blamed manufacturing defects for the failure of the 65-year-old pipeline).

Pruessing said ExxonMobil Pipeline was looking forward to moving forward with Central Arkansas Water, but CAW's watershed protection manager John Tynan said there's nowhere to go.

"We’ve been continuously requesting data, things like pipeline data itself, those 2010 and 2013 integrity tests and stuff from Mayflower. We’ve gotten summaries and overviews, but we’ve yet to get access to the data that we actually need to do third party verification. We view needing that information as the next step before we can even progress forward with Exxon with future dialogue."

Interestingly, Rep. Tim Griffin, who's part of the group who wrote to ExxonMobil Pipeline on behalf of CAW, mentioned that his office had received in-line inspection reports on the Pegasus Pipeline but couldn't decipher them, in another letter he sent to Pruessing. So why doesn't he pass along the inspection reports to CAW, who've hired a pipeline consultant to analyze such data? We've sent a note asking for comment, but haven't heard back. I've also got a call into Sen. Mark Pryor's office to see if has the same reports.

Tynan said CAW hasn't asked Griffin or anyone else for the reports and doesn't know why some have gotten access to the data.

"We’re trying to collaborate with Exxon before getting access to data through a third party source just because we want to work through the appropriate channels," he said.

It's worth noting that all of ExxonMobil's comments on the line concern bringing it back into service, NOT moving it out of the Lake Maumelle watershed.

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