Exxon Spills 42,000 Gallons in MT


It’s not news anyone wants to see over a long holiday weekend: on Friday night, a pipeline ruptured in Montana, dumping thousands of gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. The pipeline, owned by ExxonMobil, ruptured 20 miles upstream from Billings, spilling up to 42,000 gallons of oil into the water.

The Environmental Protection Agency is posting updates on the clean up. As the New York Times reported over the weekend:

The pipeline is 12 inches wide and runs from Silver Tip, Mont., to Billings, an area with three refineries, ExxonMobil said. All three were shut down after the spill. ExxonMobil said it had summoned its North American Regional Response Team to help clean up the spill, and a fire spokesman in Laurel said more than 100 people, including officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, were expected to arrive at the scene by Sunday morning.

In a statement, the company said it “deeply regrets this release and is working hard with local emergency authorities to mitigate the impacts of this release on the surrounding communities and to the environment.”

Officials still don’t know what caused the rupture on the line. The extent of the damage is also unclear at this point, but needless to say, local residents aren’t very happy.

The rupture also isn’t likely to help the case for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would also cross the Yellowstone. That project has already met a good deal of protest as the State Department considers whether to grant it approval.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.