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McDaniel has issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil, requiring them to preserve and produce documents related to the Mayflower spill and the subsequent response. Exxon's deadline to produce documents was Wednesday. McDaniel, who said private and public litigation over the Mayflower spill is "inevitable," said he believed the company would comply and meet the deadline.
"I'd like to think that we're not going to start out litigating with a motion to compel compliance with a subpoena," he said.
A community meeting on Sunday, April 7, at the Faulkner County Library sponsored by the Sierra Club was well attended, with almost a hundred people there to share their concerns and ideas on how to make a grass-roots stand going forward. There weren't many good things said about ExxonMobil or their response in Mayflower.
One of those in attendance was Tony Dawson, who was there with his wife, Charity, and their son, Camden. A resident of the Dawson Cove subdivision, which lies across I-40 from the spill site, Dawson said he and his daughter have had sore throats since the spill.
Dawson's father, Delbert, is a homebuilder, and built most of the houses in Dawson Cove. Tony Dawson said he built his family's "dream home" there with the help of his father, choosing the site because of the animals that come through the area.
"The wildlife comes right there to drink that water," he said. "Now they're not going to be there. That's what we bought that for. We have deer coming down there, we've got turkey, beaver, raccoons. Everything comes down through there. Now it's going to be gone."
Dawson said he came to the community meeting because he's worried about what the spill will do to the lake, the local environment and property values in the area. He said he lost his trust in ExxonMobil early in the process, following a meeting between residents and response officials the night after the spill.
"Let me put it this way," Dawson said. "At the community meeting they had that Saturday, they guaranteed us that it wasn't in the cove — guaranteed us. Sat right there, a panel of four ... Guaranteed it wasn't in the cove, and they'd stopped it before it got to the cove. When we got back to the house, my neighbor went out into the woods, and there was oil out there. He said it was 250 feet behind his house. That Sunday, me and my wife got dressed in our boots and we went out there and got pictures of it."
Dawson said that it doesn't seem feasible to him that the oil can be contained in the cove area and kept out of the lake. He said that the last time it rained, he saw workers pumping water over Highway 89 into Lake Conway to keep the cove from overflowing. Having come to live in the area because of the natural beauty, he believes the next phase in the woods behind his house will have to involve clearing the trees so ExxonMobil workers can excavate oil-soaked dirt. He fears that process has already started nearby.
"They've already cleared a space on Interstate Drive that's 200 feet wide," he said. "It's a mess."
One of those trying to get the word out about Mayflower is Eric Moll with tarsandsblockade.org, which Moll said is a "sustained, direct-action campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline."
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