On the same day that state and federal prosecutors took action against ExxonMobil regarding the oil spill in Mayflower, at least one resident of that community says he feels the response by Exxon after the spill has exceeded his expectations.
John Gray, Superintendent of the Mayflower School District, says he thinks some people have been hypercritical of the oil giant.
"From my perspective, Exxon has received a lot of negative press and a lot of negative attention. In fact, the school started to receive negative attention because Exxon made some donations to the school. The only thing I can say is that everything we had to do with Exxon was positive, friendly, and they were very supportive. I was very glad that Exxon was here and they responded in the way they did, because they went above and beyond what they even needed to do to deal with this. So I was very impressed," says Gray.
Right after the oil spill, the local elementary school had to send home children after they became ill from breathing fumes.
Confusion About Pipeline
However, Gray says he always thought the pipeline running through Mayflower right near the schools was a gas pipeline and not an oil pipeline.
“I knew there was a pipeline here and I knew it was a high pressure line, but everybody always called it a gas line. So I assumed it was literally gas. So that surprised me. But we knew there was a line that runs right past the school here, and it’s marked. We knew it was running through there, and if anybody goes to dig in this area, people knew that they had to be careful not to dig on it,” says Gray.