Editorial: Oil spill questions need answers

We expect to hear of bizarre happenings in our county from time to time: shootings, traffic accidents, fires, even tragedies. But a ruptured pipe leaking oil into neighborhoods near a lake is not anything that any of us want to deal with.

 

When it happened Friday afternoon, it seemed as if the right people went to work, assessing the situation, shutting off the flow of the pipe and dealing with the inevitable cleanup. And to those people we are grateful.

We are grateful to our new County Judge, Allen Dodson, who has been on the scene with emergency responders and who has been available to media requests for the past 36 hours. He has always been willing to give as much information as he could about the circumstances, and seeing him respond in his first real emergency since taking over for Preston Scroggin has been encouraging. We are glad he will be in charge for the next two years.

We are grateful for the officials with the Mayflower Police Department who have been the first to respond to residents with questions. New Police Chief Robert Satkowski has also been free with information for the city who is dealing with this problem.

We feel for those residents in the Northwoods subdivision. We have seen the photos of oil seeping into back yards and front yards and driveways and cul-de-sacs. We have driven by and smelled the pungent odor. Yes, only a few have had to be evacuated, but that doesn’t make it any less important. When you buy a house to make a life, you don’t expect “Texas Tea” to erupt, and even worse, you don’t get to sell it like the Beverly Hillbillies did.

So in the wake of the ruptured pipe and the blackened drainage and the stink in the city of Mayflower, we’d like to ask a few more questions, ones that Dodson and Satkowski won’t have to answer. These will be for other people.

Who will clean this up? Who will pay for this to be cleaned up? Will this fall on the taxpayers or will this be taken care of by the owners of that pipe, Exxon? Will our state senator fight for a private company to take care of its own mess or will he simply show up for a photo opportunity like he did in the late afternoon Friday?

This is something that happens, we realize that. But if we don’t pay attention to the aftermath, we could find out that this bizarre incident hurt us a lot more than a little oil and a bad smell.

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