Environmental Attorney Discusses Impact of Mayflower Oil Spill

Environmental Attorney Discusses Impact of Mayflower Oil Spill

22 homeowners are impacted by the Exxon Mobile oil spill in Mayflower.
MAYFLOWER- 22 homeowners are impacted by the Exxon Mobile oil spill in Mayflower.

Environmental Attorney Hank Bates say the short term impact is homeowners being forced to stay in hotels until it's safe to go back to their neighborhood. The long term impact is how the oil spill will decrease the value of their homes, that is if they can sell them. Bates says it's still too early to know the full impact the oil spill will have on homeowners. He says it's a daunting experience that could last a long time.

Chris Harrell says the oil flowing behind his house in the Northwoods subdivision smells awful. He says it's more than an inconvenience and hassle, he's worried about the health and safety of his family. "Will the houses be condemned? What will this do to my property value in 3 to 5 years? My wife and I actually planned on listing our house this spring or summer, so anyone who wants and oil covered house come see me. "

Bates says this is a major issue that will last long after the clean up. "How clean is clean? Is what's clean enough for Exxon clean enough for the state? Is that clean enough for the family?"

Harrell wonders id he or any of his neighbors will ever be able to dig swimming pools in their backyards after this oil spill, or grow gardens. He's curious what will Exxon be willing to pay people for homes now forever damaged.
"We're hoping for compensation going forward. We're obviously concerned about the property value and the inconvenience of it all."

Bates says homeowners should wait and see, and gather as much information as possible. He says don't sign anything right now. "No matter what happens, that property is going to be tainted in some way. Homeowners are concerned about the decrease of their property value and trying to find recovery for that."

Even if all the oil is cleaned up and it's safe to go back, and Harrell and his neighbors choose to continue living in the Northwoods subdivision, Bates say the pipeline still runs underneath their homes. "Hopefully there won't be a community wide public health impact."

Harrell says he didn't know the pipeline was there when he bought the house. Had he known, he says he would have thought twice about purchasing, and never would have even considered living in a neighborhood touched by an oil spill.
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