ExxonMobil has a plan for Lake Maumelle watershed | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ExxonMobil has a plan for Lake Maumelle watershed

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

The line is open.

Leslie Newell Peacock hopes to follow directly with a little something about a meeting today of Little Rock, Central Arkansas Water, ExxonMobil and other people over the Pegasus pipeline that runs through 18 miles of CAW's watershed, including along the shore of Lake Maumelle, the region's water supply. This was in response to a request from Mayor Mark Stodola for a little overdue info.

Among other things, the company has at long last come up with some ideas to better assure water drinkers about the safety of their supply. Leslie is getting a copy of the report. Somehow, I don't think it includes moving the aging line — currently not operating after it spilled Canadian tar sands crude all over a Mayflower neighborhood and wetlands near Lake Conway. ExxonMobil says it's still waiting, after several months, for the findings of an internal study of the structural condition of the aging line, more than 60 years old.

Back to you for the open line.

UPDATE: As of 6 p.m., CAW had not sent over the report. According to Mayor Stodola, who met with me after the unpublicized meeting, Exxon representatives said they had not had time to read the letter jointly sent them by Sens. Pryor and Boozman, Rep. Tim Griffin, Stodola and NLR Mayor Joe Smith, County Judge Buddy Villines and CAW chairperson Carmen Smith as "Lake Maumelle Governmental Shareholders." The letter asks Exxon to, among other things, take immediate action to analyze the integrity of the pipeline that crosses the Lake Maumelle watershed and "provide assurances that the pipeline is safe for operation" prior to the restart of the Pegasus line.

Stodola said he asked the Exxon officials, now represented by Bill Paschall of Paschall Strategic Communications, why the company had not gotten around to installing a third valve in the line in the watershed that CAW requested in 2010. Stodola said they claimed they were going to get around to it this summer, but they can't now, of course, because the pipeline is shut down.

Exxon told Stodola that it does aerial surveys of the pipeline in the Maumelle area twice a week, and walks the pipeline once every three years. The area is rugged and remote in places and the "shareholders" are concerned that should there be a break, Exxon could not shut down the pipes and get to the break before all of Central Arkansas's drinking water is fouled by Canadian crude.

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