LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Friday he was pleased by the news that ExxonMobil reversed its decision to discontinue housing assistance to people displaced by the Mayflower oil spill, but he criticized the company for making the decision in the first place.
"Although I am happy that Exxon has retreated from the cold-hearted policy that it announced just yesterday, I am again frustrated with the company. I am angry that families had to experience that level of stress and that it took so much public outcry for Exxon to change its position," McDaniel said in a news release.
Several displaced Mayflower residents learned this week from the company that it intended to discontinue their housing aid payments. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock sent a letter to the company’s president on Thursday urging it to reverse the decision.
"Exxon officials have informed me that they are reversing course, have cancelled the automatic September 1, 2013 assistance cutoff, and pledge to work to meet the individual needs of the affected families, in response to my request yesterday," Griffin said in a news release Friday. "These victims didn’t ask for this spill, and I will continue to do all that I can to make sure they’re made whole."
Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower on March 29, releasing an estimated 147,000 gallons of oil. The company has provided financial relief to 66 families in the neighborhood, about a third of whom had to leave their homes after the spill. Three of the families have been able to return home.