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Arkansas lawmaker opposes Pegasus pipeline restart

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., told federal regulators he was opposed to restarting the Pegasus oil pipeline, which ruptured in his state in March.

Griffin said in a letter to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration he was opposed to restarting the pipeline, saying there was an "absolute need" to relocate a 13-mile section of the pipeline near a watershed "to ensure the safety of the drinking water of more than 400,000 Arkansan."

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About 5,000 barrels of a diluted form of heavy Canadian crude oil spilled from a 22-foot rupture in the pipeline in Mayflower, Ark., in March.

Last week, the PHMSA said the Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. has until Jan. 6 to submit plans to regulators to restart the Pegasus oil pipeline in the state.

The PHMSA listed nine likely violations of federal safety rules associated with the pipeline, which has the capacity to carry 90,000 barrels of oil per day. Griffin said the PHMSA's citation suggested there were "serious questions" about the way in which Exxon manages its pipeline systems.

Griffin's letter was published by the Northwest Arkansas News. It was dated Thursday.

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Griffin this week co-sponsored legislation that would strip some of the federal government's authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing and put the power in state hands instead.

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