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Questions linger one week after oil rupture in Mayflower

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published April 5, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.

workers-clean-up-oil-in-a-drainage-area-in-mayflower-friday

Workers clean up oil in a drainage area in Mayflower Friday.

Becky Naylor, 57, has lived in Mayflower all her life.

So when an Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured last Friday about 500 yards from the property where she and her husband have lived for roughly 40 years, Naylor naturally had concerns.

One week after the disaster, which the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a major spill totaling thousands of gallons of crude oil, she said numerous questions still remain for her and other residents in the Faulkner County town.

"Is it going to depreciate the value of our lands?" Naylor asked during an interview at the Mayflower garden center where she works. "Are we going to lose trees? Are we going to lose more wildlife? After they pull out, are they going to help us in 10 or 20 years? I'm watching for me children and my grandchildren. I want to make sure they enjoy this land too."

Cleanup work seemed to be continuing in Mayflower on Friday morning. Workers in yellow protective suits were scrubbing a drainage creek near Interstate 40, and numerous officials appeared to be on scene at the Northwoods subdivision where the pipeline burst. A Faulkner County sheriff's office deputy said media were not allowed in the area and asked a reporter to leave.

Signs on Arkansas 365 around the heart of town mostly directed readers about the cleanup efforts or how to contact Exxon for claims. Read one at First Baptist Church: "Pray for our community in the wake of the oil spill."

Naylor credited the local emergency responders with preventing a much more severe disaster by acting quickly to contain the spill, keeping it from reaching Lake Conway. And, she said, the oil company officials have been available, helpful and "nothing but nice" in her dealings so far.

She said the smell initially on her property — which is near but outside of the subdivision where about two dozen homes remain evacuated — was unbearable. It's gotten better since, she said, though a taste of oil remains in her mouth when she spends time outside in the city.

"If I can taste it, I'm ingesting something," Naylor said, noting she's forbidden her grandchildren from going outside on the backside of her property nearest the spill.

Down the street from the garden center where Naylor works, 56-year-old Terry Elliott runs an art studio and a couple booths at a local flea market. A screen printer there Friday was working up a design for a T-shirt reading "I survived the Mayflower oil spill."

Elliott, 56, said he has some concerns but thinks the response has been impressive. He's lived in Mayflower about 30 years, though in a different part of town from the spill.

"It will work itself out," he said Friday. "They'll take care of it, and we'll go on and live for the next adventure. Now, that's easy for me to say because I don't live in that area."

Comments on: Questions linger one week after oil rupture in Mayflower

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JakeTidmore says... April 5, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

There's a really big question arising now in the area: Why are officers from the Sheriff's office making like Nazi Stromtroopers and threatening to arrest folks who had specifically been given permission by the land owners to go on their proerty?

To quote one officer: "This is now my land. I now own this highway."

I guess they are worried that folks want to take a refreshing dip in Tar Baby Griffin's new swimming hole.

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cliffcarson says... April 5, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

Jake this is what Police do sometimes. Especially down around Conway. A couple of years ago my Grand-Daughter was arrested in Conway, stripped Naked, and tested for drugs. And what for? She had asked a Conway policemen if she could go into a restricted area to get something, he said OK, when she got there a different officer saw her, arrested her for trespassing, even though she told the officer that she had gotten permission from another officer. He said he didn't take orders from the other officer and she didn't have his permission. Charges were never brought against her after they let her go after about four hours. She has now graduated out of UCA and immediately got out of Dodge.

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MayPops says... April 5, 2013 at 1:51 p.m.

Way to sound like a clueless ding-dong, Elliot.

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TheBatt says... April 5, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.

How long will it be before folks in the area begin to file lawsuits against Exxon/Mobile for warts, sinus infections, birth defects, headaches, fibromyalgia, tumors, cancers, blindness, infertility, impotence, and gambling addiction?

And of course, as one infamous member of the Obama administration said a few years back - they cannot waste a good disaster...

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djigoo says... April 5, 2013 at 2:25 p.m.

So I take it you're HAPPY this happened, TheBatt?

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Populist says... April 5, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.

TheBatt,

I'm sure any of these people would gladly sell their homes to you.

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RonalFos says... April 5, 2013 at 3:31 p.m.

Batt, may something like this happen to you soon and the person you have to deal with to get help is just like you.

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HalALouyah says... April 5, 2013 at 3:50 p.m.

Did you 3 really fall for what Batt said? You folks are easier than Paris Hilton

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djigoo says... April 5, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.

I'm grateful to the people behind the "Mayflower Arkansas Oil Spill" Facebook page for getting first-hand information out of the hands of the spinmeisters and directly to the people. Very worth checking out.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 6, 2013 at 1:08 a.m.

The "Ding" Batt is standing up for Exxon/Mobile and already worried about lawsuits against them. Last year Exxon/Mobile made $1300 profit per second so they can take a few hits and still come out OK, just like they did in the Exxon Valdez spill. They kept people tied up in courts untill some died and got nothing for 20 years or more. Poor Exxon, poor BP.

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