Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after sending a letter to Gary Pruessing, president of the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company:
"It is my understanding that ExxonMobil informed displaced Mayflower residents whose homes have been cleared by the Unified Command that after September 1, 2013, ExxonMobil intends to cut off funding for their alternative housing. I am angered and deeply concerned that ExxonMobil would prematurely terminate housing assistance for these residents, forcing them to either move back into their homes or pay the full cost of alternative housing. In addition, weeks after I received highly technical raw data on these inspections, I have still not received a response from ExxonMobil to my request for a briefing on this raw data, which is indecipherable without technical assistance. In all of these matters, ExxonMobil should step up and fulfill its duty."
A copy of the letter, which among other things requests that ExxonMobil continue to provide housing assistance to the affected residents through December 31, 2013, can be found here.
Since the March 29 oil spill, Rep. Griffin has toured the cleanup site several times (most recently last week), remained in constant contact with residents and representatives of the Unified Command, and called for relocating the Pegasus pipeline away from Lake Maumelle.
Last week, Griffin introduced H.R. 2724, which will prevent compensation provided to Mayflower residents from being taxable by classifying it as "a qualified disaster relief payment" under current law. This would protect the impacted families from facing thousands of dollars in additional taxes. In a presidentially-declared disaster, such as those that occurred in Oklahoma and New Jersey, any benefits provided would automatically be tax-exempt.