Five months after Exxon's Pegasus oil pipeline ruptured, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of tar sands oil into a small residential area, most of the residents that were forced to evacuate have not returned to their homes, due to health concerns over air quality and evidence that oil is still present underneath some of the homes. This has, shockingly, not stopped Exxon from announcing in early August that they are cutting off housing assistance for these displaced residents.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was on The Rachel Maddow show to discuss the latest in the Exxon Mobil tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.
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Crews have finished landscaping all of the front yards but it's the backyards that concern Senia. Nearly five months later, crews are still working on them, digging and re-digging where much of the oil spilled.
"They keep coming back time and time again," said Senia. "So, even though it looks good on the surface, I'm worried about what's underneath."
Senia said he stops by occasionally and walks through the neighborhood to see what progress is being made. Just this week he discovered something he said let him know he made the right choice.
"Even just a couple of days ago I found oil just two or three house down from mine," he said.
But they're concerns Senia says fall on deaf ears. Exxon cleared 22 homes for re-entry, including Senia's. It's up to homeowners to decide whether they move back in. But temporary housing will no longer be provided in approximately 30 days.
It is hard to fault the homeowners for not wanting to put themselves -- and their children -- back into homes that were once saturated with highly-toxic tar sands oil and the chemical diluents. Exxon has already been shown to have misled the State of Arkansas and residents about the spill. And one study found thirty toxic chemicals at this spill site. And Exxon is still -- five months later -- digging up yards to try and remove all of this oil and chemicals.
These Arkansans haven't been able to live in their own homes for five months because of Exxon Mobil.
Now, they have approximately a week and a half before Exxon cuts their housing payments.
In that same amount of time, Exxon Mobil will earn somewhere around $1 billion in profits.*