Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after speaking with officials from ExxonMobil and contacting President Obama's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA):
"Arkansans deserve answers, and that is why I've made it clear to ExxonMobil and PHMSA officials that Arkansans' patience has grown thin over the delays. Today, I am making the full metallurgical post-spill report on the cause of the Mayflower oil spill that I received from PHMSA available on my website. It should be accessible to everyone, and I have made it clear that if PHMSA doesn't also release the 2010 and 2013 raw pre-spill inspection data, I will.
"As I indicated in my letter to ExxonMobil last week, their 2010 and 2013 raw pre-spill inspection data, provided to me and other federal officials by PHMSA, is indecipherable without the assistance of an engineer or technical expert. I have asked ExxonMobil to provide me and other federal officials, Central Arkansas Water and local, county and state stakeholders a briefing on the raw pre-spill inspection data as soon as possible. In today's meeting with ExxonMobil officials, I specifically asked whether the 2010 or 2013 inspection data indicated in any way that the pipeline had a manufacturing flaw. They said the data did not show any indication of a manufacturing flaw. That response raises a number of critical questions, so I look forward to an in-depth technical briefing on this particular issue, and will continue to make sure the victims of this spill are made whole and the drinking water for more than 400,000 Arkansans remains safe."
On Tuesday, the House passed Rep. Griffin's amendment that removes $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary's salary and expenses budget and appropriates it for the operational expenses of PHMSA. It ensures PHMSA has additional resources to maintain the safety of America's pipelines with no additional cost to taxpayers. He also joined Senators Pryor and Boozman in sending a letter to PHMSA urging them to release information regarding the Mayflower oil spill.
Last week, Griffin convinced ExxonMobil to reverse course on its plans to cancel automatic housing assistance to the Mayflower victims on September 1. He has also introduced legislation that will designate the compensation provided to Mayflower residents as tax-exempt by classifying it as "a qualified disaster relief payment" under current law.
Since the oil spill on March 29, Griffin has toured the cleanup site several times and remains in constant contact with residents and representatives of the Unified Command, and has also called for relocating the Pegasus pipeline away from Lake Maumelle.