Some observers are questioning the relative haste with which ExxonMobil was sued on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency after a March oil spill. The suit, filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Arkansas attorney general, claims that crude oil from the company's ruptured Pegasus pipeline polluted waters around Mayflower, Ark., and that ExxonMobil failed to properly store waste contaminated by the oil. Civil fines could reach as much as $4,300 for each of the estimated 5,000 barrels of oil that spilled. "In this instance regulators have chosen the most aggressive course of action from the beginning," said Andy Levine, a former EPA attorney.

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