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It was a good week for reviving the fight over health care expansion 

It was a good week for ...

REVIVING THE FIGHT OVER HEALTH CARE EXPANSION. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved a proposed referendum from Garland County Tea Partier Glenn Gallas and his group, Arkansans Against Big Government. Gallas hopes to undo expansion. His group needs to collect nearly 47,000 signatures in two months to make the ballot.

It was a bad week for ...

LT. GOV. MARK DARR. During a tour of the Mayflower oil spill, he told KUAR it appeared ExxonMobil had made the area better than it was before.

A JOINT ENDORSEMENT. Democratic candidate for governor Mike Ross and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor John Burkhalter endorsed each other and pledged to work together should they get elected. Ross promised to create a "Governor's Cabinet for Economic Development" to work on job creation as one of his first actions as governor. He said he would name Burkhalter to chair the cabinet.

ARKANSAS'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION. Arkansas's Republican congressmen, Reps. Tom Cotton, Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack, voted against a motion by Iraq war veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) that would have added language to the National Defense Appropriation Act to give victims of sexual abuse more options in bringing their abusers to trial.

EXXONMOBIL. The state of Arkansas and the federal government jointly filed a civil lawsuit against subsidiaries of ExxonMobil seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief. Part of the lawsuit falls under the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act. According to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), Exxon is storing illegal contaminants near Mayflower in fracking tanks at a site on Highway 36 operated by XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil subsidiary. Teresa Marks, director of ADEQ, said that her agency is concerned that the contaminants are being stored for a duration longer than permitted for hazardous waste.

EXXONMOBIL'S CREDIBILITY. The oil giant claims that it shut down its Pegasus pipeline 16 minutes after it ruptured in Mayflower on March 29. That timeline is still under investigation, but even if ExxonMobil's contention is verified, it would still fall short of the 12 minutes a federally approved Emergency Response Plan required, according to documents posted by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). ClimateNews said the four-minute difference may have equated to 10,000 more barrels (some 420,000 gallons) being spilled.

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