McDaniel: There is oil in Lake Conway

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says while he is a supporter of the pipeline system in the United States, last week's oil spill is a sad and unfortunate situation. McDaniel says it serves as a reminder of the risks of our modern economy.

According to McDaniel, most of the pipelines in the country were laid before 1970. "We have to have full inspections. We have to have proactive safety precautions. Here is what happens when things go badly. It's devastating."

McDaniel toured the area this week. When asked if he believed Exxon was doing everything they could be doing in this situation, McDaniel says he doesn't know everything they should be doing. {}"Fortunately for me, this is my first oil spill. Unfortunately for them, they have a lot of them. I was impressed with what I saw. I did see lots of people. I told you my head hurt all the way through yesterday just from being exposed to the fumes for a couple of hours. There are people there who have been working day in and day out and will be there for weeks.

"I'm very appreciative of them for what they're doing for Arkansas to help us be cleaned up. But are they doing the best they can? I don't know that. I wouldn't have any way to gauge that."

McDaniel acknowledges the spill is a PR disaster for Exxon Mobile. He referenced the no-fly zone, saying it was a reasonable decision. "It's a safety-oriented issue. The media is specifically exempted. All you have to do is let them know you're coming and they will make sure you have clear space to get in and out. But that was not how it was pitched." McDaniel says he spent most of the day yesterday trying to figure out why the no-fly zone was created.

Is there oil in Lake Conway?

"I don't understand where this distinction is coming from, from the cove and Lake Conway. The cove is part of Lake ConwayThe water is all part of one body of water.

"I think it's very fair to say that Lake Conway has not received catastrophic damage, but of course there is oil in Lake Conway."

The state of Arkansas is preparing for litigation. McDaniel says they have sent subpoenas and are coordinating with the Department of Environmental Equality, the EPA, and the Department of Transportation Pipeline Safety.

"Environmental tests are being conducted. Oversight is being performed. I'm waiting to receive information from Exxon's legal team. We're in constant communication with them. I hope that residents of Faulkner County are retaining their own lawyers. They need to seek council because they are going to have damages."