Last week there was concern expressed that Exxon would try to avoid responsibility for the Arkansas oil spill, but thus far the clean-up is proceeding with Exxon at the helm.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported a few days ago that the FAA has imposed a no fly zone over the oil spill and that an Exxon employee is in charge. The FAA claims the no fly zone is to protect helicopters from low flying planes, but critics accuse Exxon of not wanting photos taken of the disaster. Exxon did not explain why news helicopters were banned, or why reporters themselves were barred from the area, or why one reporter from InsideClimate News was threatened with arrest.

Exxon media relations manager Alan Jeffers told RT via email that teams are working directly with residents of Mayflower and are “paying all valid claims relating to the spill and providing interim housing for people from the homes which the city of Mayflower recommended be evacuated following Friday’s spill.” However, resident Chris Harrell tweeted after meeting with ExxonMobil that claims would only be dealt with individually and following the completion of the cleanup. He added that ExxonMobil had given no assurances as to when the cleanup would be finished.

The FAA has not explained why someone from Exxon is in charge rather than a government expert on wildlife or the environment.

Various Reports of the story: