Half the families in the 62-home subdivision that bore the brunt of Exxon's spill are leaving their homes in search of a fresh start they never wanted.

By Sam Eifling and Zahra Hirji

American property owners battling to stop energy companies from snaking oil pipelines across their lands need only look to Mayflower, Ark., for a window into what can go wrong when pipelines burst in backyards.

Eight months after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas subdivision, a cloud of uncertainty looms large over the young families, singles and retirees who chose the affordable, decade-old Northwoods neighborhood to establish roots. Nearly half of them have put their houses up for sale in search of a fresh start they never wanted.

"The area is blanketed with 'For Sale' signs," said April Lane, a community health advocate who has worked with the spill victims. Twenty-nine of the development's 62 homes have either been sold to Exxon under its buy-out program or are on the open market.

(VIDEO: SHATTERED BY OIL: Exxon Arkansas Spill and the People Left Behind, Pt. 1)


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