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Mayflower, Arkansas “on lockdown” following Exxon oil spill

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Little Rock-based journalist, Suzi Parker has an important piece at Grist describing the conditions on the ground in Mayflower, Arkansas following last Friday’s Exxon Mobil oil spill. She writes that Exxon “has instituted something like martial law.”

Company workers wearing logoed shirts roam throughout the town. Local police guard the entrance to the neighborhood where the spill happened. On Starlite Road, where oil flowed down the street last week, workers vacuum up oil in yards and steam-wash pavement.

The oil company has also taken over wildlife rescue from a local organization; independent rescuers report that they are being forced to leave private property by ExxonMobil enforcers. (Casualties so far include oil-covered ducks, snakes, and nutria.) Reporters who accompanied Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on a tour of the spill on Wednesday were asked to leave by Exxon representatives. Even the state Department of Environmental Quality refers reporters to the downstream media line for information.

Lisa Song at Inside Climate News was one of those journalists threatened with arrest after she went to the command center for the cleanup operation in an attempt to reach an Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation official for an interview:

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