LITTLE ROCK, AR — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel called an afternoon press conference Tuesday to speak about his investigation into an oil spill March 29th that rocked the town of Mayflower.
“Mayflower is a long way from being made whole again,” McDaniel said, recalling recent trips to Mayflower and saying ExxonMobil needs to do more for residents affected by the spill.
In an updated compensation plan made public Monday ExxonMobil said it will buy all 22 homes evacuated after the spill at a pre-spill price and guarantee sale of 40 other homes at a pre-spill price within 120 days of being listed.
But McDaniel said he wants residents who live on “The Cove” of Lake Conway, where oil ended up, to be able to sell their homes as well.
“Instead of looking out on a quiet fishing spot, their backyard views now are of steady boats and people and cleanup crews and hundreds of feet of boom,” he said.
McDaniel also cast doubt on claims made by government agencies and ExxonMobil that air Mayflower residents are breathing is safe.
“Many continue to suffer from headaches and nausea and air sampling continues to show the carcinogen benzene remains in the air,” he said.
Dr. William Mason with the Arkansas Department of Health said while temporary symptoms are possible, compound levels have not been
high enough, for long enough periods of time to cause long term health issues.
“Since the residents who were initially impacted by this oil spill were evacuated, we feel any long-term health affect would be minimum to zero,” he said.
In yet another development, McDaniel announced the creation of the Mayflower Consumer Response Team to investigation complaints from residents he says have been targeted with over-priced and over-promised spill related products.