A panel of Arkansas officials met with concerned citizens Monday afternoon at the Clinton School of Public Service to discuss how the state has responded to the Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline rupture that occurred in Mayflower one year ago.
Speaking on the panel were Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson; U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin; Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel; Tammie Hynum, chief of the hazardous waste division of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; and Graham W. Rich, chief executive officer of Central Arkansas Water.
Officials with the Clinton School of Public Service said Exxon Mobil officials were invited to participate in the discussion but chose not to attend.
Speaking to a large crowd in Sturgis Hall, Dodson opened the discussion by stating that an event such as the oil spill in Mayflower was unfortunate and should have been avoided.
“We’ve got to reduce the number of incidents like this,” he said.
Griffin said that while preparations had been made for a crisis, the state could have been more prepared.
“You’re never as ready as you think you are [for an event like this],” he said.
Although some of the residents in the Mayflower neighborhood affected by the oil spill knew the Pegasus pipeline ran through their backyards, most of them didn’t, McDaniel added.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Monday approved the oil company's plan to restart the southernmost section of the Pegasus pipeline, which runs between Corsicana and Nederland, Texas. The northern segment of the pipeline runs 648 miles from Patoka, Ill., through Missouri and Arkansas to Corsicana, Texas.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.