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Evacuees Voice Frustration To ExxonMobil Over Oil Spill

Frustration boiled over Tuesday evening during a private meeting attended by residents of the Northwood subdivision and representatives of ExxonMobil.
MAYFLOWER, AR - Frustration boiled over Tuesday evening during a private meeting attended by residents of the Northwood subdivision and representatives of ExxonMobil.

The meeting was called to discuss effort to clean oil that blanketed parts of the neighborhood when what's now estimated to be 3,500 to 5,000 barrels of oil leaked from a ruptured pipeline.

The pipeline, called Pegasus, is owned by ExxonMobil.

During the meeting residents expressed worry about the possibility of long term health concerns in the neighborhood.

"I'm not talking my eight-year-old baby girl down there to play in the street where all that oil is standing," said homeowner Joe Bradley.

There's also worry about plummeting home values.

Some residents say they have no plans to return home, believing the neighborhood has been spoiled beyond repair.

They went to the meeting at Mayflower High School to demand ExxonMobil buy out their homes.

"We bought that house with intention of staying there the rest of our lives," Bradley said.  "That's the biggest investment of my life and they just dumped 200,000 gallons of Canadian crude on it and want us to pat them on the back for cleaning it up."

Residents said they were given no guarantees about what ExxonMobil will do to make them whole.

Adding to the frustration is that while some officials are hopeful evacuees who live furthest from the spills can return home this weekend, there is still no time frame for residents who live closest.

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Health said after the meeting it's still not safe.

"The numbers have been looking very good in the past few days with the air quality, and we are optimistic that they will continue to look good," said Dr. William Mason with the Arkansas Department of Health.  "But we will not make a determination for the residents to return until the air quality standards are at acceptable levels."
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