LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (KTHV)- Mayflower residents held a town hall meeting Saturday to discuss future options for restoring their ecosystem and safety following the Exxon pipeline oil spill in March.
Around thirty residents were in attendance but state government officials and Exxon weren't represented. More than eighty residents living in Mayflower along Lake Conway have filed a class action lawsuit against the oil company following the ruptured pipeline and subsequent cleanup efforts.
A main focus of the town hall meeting was health concerns, as many in attendance say they've already developed headaches and dizziness from exposure to pipeline chemicals. "Our lives are at stake due to cancers and neurological disorders due to inhaling and being around these chemicals.", says Genieve Long, a 28-year Mayflower resident.
Long says the local ecosystem may be taking the biggest hit of all, as nearby Lake Conway has always been a popular fishing spot in Central Arkansas. Exxon says the lake is still safe for fishing, but Long isn't buying it. After 90 days of cleanup, she still won't let her four children near the water.
Mayflower resident Ann Jarrell says her entire family has battled illnesses since the spill. "Everyone is fleeing just like the animals are fleeing because it's poison here..." adds Jarrell, who believe she couldn't sell her house even if she cut the asking price in half.