More than 10,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline in the town of Mayflower, Ark. over the weekend.
Some are using the occasion to restart the debate over transporting fossil fuels across America.
In Mayflower itself, the spill has proved an odd mixed blessing.
For the 22 households that were forced to evacuate, life as of Tuesday remained far from normal.
We spoke by phone with Misty Sobanski, who’s still living with her sixteen-year-old daughter out of their suitcases at a nearby Holiday Inn. The smell is just too strong back at their home on Woodside Drive, a nearby street that wasn’t even hit by the oil, she said.
“I think it’s safer for me and my daughter to stay at the hotel for now,” she said.
Sobanski added she’s satisfied with how Exxon has responded. Displaced residents were able to receive at least $1,800 from the firm, and Exxon reps brought Easter baskets at a town hall meeting Sunday.
Wendy Moore, a realtor with Real Estate One off Highway 365, said she’d just closed on a home on North Starlite Road — basically ground zero for the spill — when the incident occurred Friday.
Both the current occupant and buyer, who was supposed to move in Monday, now face an uncertain future.
“Everybody’s scared to death about property values,” she said.
Meanwhile, just across the railroad tracks the bisect the “two-stoplight” town (as Moore called it), it was an entirely different story: thanks to Exxon’s cleanup crews, local business is booming.
We spoke with an employee at Pizza Pro, just down the street from Realty One, about how the restaurant had been affected by the spill.
The man who answered said he wouldn’t be able to speak with us — he was too busy putting together a large order for a crew waiting in their parking lot.
Moore herself said she obliged a friend who’d asked her to prepare tacos at a local convenience store.
“They’re getting revenue that they haven’t been getting,” Moore told us.
The cause of the spill remains unknown. Arkansas’s attorney general today announced his office would conduct its own investigation.