ExxonMobil execs brief city, county on Mayflower oil spill one year later

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - ExxonMobilrepresentatives descended on Mayflower on Tuesday, nearly a year after thePegasus Pipeline burst.{} The companyresponsible for the spill updated the community on remediation efforts.

At ground-zero, theNorthwoods Subdivision, Exxon said things are back to normal for the most part -roads are newly paved, the grass is cut - much better than the picture from ayear ago.{}

ExxonMobil executives andlocal government met to discuss the progress made.{} The most important piece of news deliveredwas regarding the environment surrounding the pipeline.

"We have confirmation thatthere remains no ecological risk in the cove, in the channels, in the neighborhood,"said Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company executive.{} "All the testing supports that that worrydoes not exist."

Tyrone mentioned the soiland water samples were tested by both Exxon and the Arkansas Department ofEnvironmental Quality. {}

But the worry that doesremain for Exxon is the future of Northwoods.{}The street predominantly affected by the oil spill, North Starlite Road,remains practically abandoned for the exception of two homes.{} Exxon said they remain committed to makingsure the homes are taken care of and marketed properly for resale.

"I definitely believethat, yes, they will take care of the neighborhood," said Michelle Ward, whocontinues to live in front of where the pipeline burst.{} "It's mostly theirs."

Ward said Exxon owns mostof the homes on her street.{} Eighteen ofher neighbors took advantage of Exxon's "Property Purchase Program," which wasmade available in some form or another to all 62 property owners inNorthwoods.{} Ward said the only reasonshe continues to live there is because she has to live there due to the termsof her home loan.

"I'm penalized for certainthings such as selling my house in a certain amount of time," said Ward,commenting that Exxon's buyout options wouldn't jive with her loan.

Despite the progress madein the neighborhood, Exxon mentioned there continues to be an oil sheen thatpops up every now and then in the cove area not far from the spill.{} Although the concerns are cosmetic and notenvironmentally detrimental, Exxon said they are still committed to cleaning itup.