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Stay granted in case over Exxon pipeline spill

Posted: October 10, 2013 - 7:35pm

Federal prosecutors’ request to stay proceedings in the lawsuit over ExxonMobil’s role in the oil spill in Mayflower have been granted by a district judge.

The stay comes two days after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel made public a letter to Congressman Tim Griffin, asking Griffin to use his influence to reopen the federal government because the shutdown was hampering McDaniel’s investigation and litigation against ExxonMobil.

U.S. District Judge James Moody granted a request from U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer Thursday seeking to stay the case because of the government shutdown.

McDaniel has said some government employees who were working with his staff, including officials with the Department of Justice Civil Division, have been furloughed.

Two of 19 Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s Hazardous Waste Division employees furloughed were stationed in Mayflower, McDaniel said.

Thyer said, according to the Associated Press, most attorneys with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were unable to work on the case, even on a voluntary basis, because of the lapse in federal funding.

A spokesperson from Thyer’s office said Thursday she could not comment on the stay in the case or other matters due to the government shutdown.

She said she could only comment on issues critical to life and safety.

Thyer was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.

The lawsuit, filed jointly by federal prosecutors and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, seeks civil penalties for the oil spill in a Mayflower subdivision.

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in March, spilling thousands of barrels of oil into the Northwoods neighborhood, through a series of drainage ditches and into the Lake Conway watershed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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lachowsj 10/11/13 - 07:50 am
Shutdown continues to affect citizens in surprising ways

"The rancor of party was revived with all its bitterness...United by no fixed principles or objects and destitute of everything like American feeling, so detestable a minority never existed in any country--Their whole political creed is contained in a single word "opposition"--They pursue it without regard to principle, to personal reputation or the best interests of their country."

The above was written in March, 1811 by Congressman John Wayles Eppes to his father-in-law Thomas Jefferson regarding the actions of the opposition Federalist Party. The description fits well the current Congress and the Tea Party activists who place their extreme philosophy before the good of the country, shutting off services and threatening the reputation of the United States itself, all to try and gain advantage that could not be achieved through the lawful and orderly course of legislation. The stakes are much higher than the current crisis, for if these tactics are allowed to stand, we will face repeated episodes of political extortion, each more severe than the one before. Be strong Mr. President. Our whole future depends upon it.

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