MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - Nearly five months after an Exxon Mobil oil spill in a Mayflower neighborhood, the vast majority of homeowners there have yet to return home. Now the company has told some of those residents that it's about to stop paying for their temporary housing.
Since the spill, most of the residents evacuated from the Northwoods Subdivision have been living in temporary housing paid for by Exxon. On Tuesday, eleven of those homeowners got word that Exxon will cut them off from any more money for that temporary housing within the next month.
The company said temporary housing should have ended when federal, state and local officials deemed the homes of evacuees safe to return to. THV 11 spoke with one of those residents who said she can't afford to pay for both an apartment and her mortgage, meaning she'll likely be forced to move back into her home even though she doesn't want to go back.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin vowed to put pressure on Exxon to continue funding temporary housing for those displaced by the spill. In a statement given to THV 11 Griffin said:
"ExxonMobil promised that it would not set a hard and fast timeline for ending assistance but instead would consider the individual circumstances of those affected, so I am holding Exxon to their word and asking anyone who needs more time to call me on my cell phone so I can help. ExxonMobil must keep their word and make things right for the folks affected in Mayflower who didn't ask for this nightmare in the first place. Victims of this spill must be made whole and the drinking water for more than 400,000 Arkansans must remain safe."
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sued Exxon Mobil in June, claiming improper waste storage and water contamination.