Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) announced Tuesday (May 7) that he is mobilizing his office resources into a dedicated clearinghouse for the victims of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline oil spill that occurred March 29 in Mayflower, Arkansas.

McDaniel held an afternoon press conference at his Little Rock office saying a toll-free phone number and dedicated e-mail address have been established to collect “as much data as possible” from anyone affiliated with the affected area. His office web site – arkansas.ag.gov –  has been redesigned to funnel “concerns, questions, or consumer complaints related to the spill” as part of a Mayflower Consumer Response Team.

The toll-free phone number is (800) 482-8982 and the email for communications is oilspill@ArkansasAG.gov.

McDaniel said he is still reviewing documents and data provided by ExxonMobil and state and federal officials near the pipeline burst, which he said still has not been adequately explained as to how it occurred.

Expressing frustration that air quality monitors still show carcinogens are in the air of damaged homes, McDaniel called on ExxonMobil to purchase all homes affected by the oil spill at fair market value prices before the disaster occurred. He complained that the process to sell impacted homes was “too complex.”

McDaniel stopped short of saying that litigation was a certainty even as he sifted through the reams of data provided by the oil giant and despite his request for more information through today’s clearinghouse announcement.

But, he wouldn’t rule litigation off the table “because we’re the Attorney General’s office. That’s what we do.”

McDaniel also said that he did not foresee any potential legislation being pushed before the state legislature adjourns “sine die” later this month. He added that he is informally keeping lawmakers informed on the amount of money being spent and potentially required by his office, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

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