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BAKKEN BREAKOUT WEEKLY


NATION & WORLD


By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press


Mobil Corp. is working with govern- ment agencies on a plan to speed up the response to oil spills along Montana’s up- per Yellowstone River, after a major spill last year left local offi cials scrambling to deal with an ill-defi ned threat, state and federal offi cials said. The goal is to provide enough train-


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Exxon


of the oil that spilled was recovered dur- ing a cleanup that cost an estimated $135 million after pipeline repairs were fac- tored in. Offi cials fear some oil leftover from


to handle a signifi cant spill. Yellowstone County’s director of di-


ing and resources to take action on major pipeline, refi nery or railway spills within 24 hours, or before outside help can ar- rive.


Exxon would pay to plan and possibly equip the stepped-up response under a settlement with the state over pollution violations from its July pipeline break near Laurel. The effort is in the early stages and the


will be responsible for cleaning up any more oil discovered from last year’s spill. The company is currently monitoring about 45 sites along the river where oil was left in place because offi cials deter- mined removal would be more damag- ing, Alvey said.


company has not yet submitted a formal proposal. State approval is needed for the work to count toward Exxon’s remaining $1.3 million obligation under the settle- ment.


line broke beneath the Yellowstone one weekend last July, releasing an estimated 63,000 gallons of oil. Less than 1 percent


The company’s 12-inch Silvertip pipe-


er seven counties in south-central and southeast Montana — Yellowstone, Car- bon, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, Park, Gallatin and Big Horn. Most of the region’s oil and gas facilities, including three refi n- eries, are concentrated in two counties — Yellowstone and Carbon counties. Steve Merritt with the Environmen-


tal Protection Agency said the hope is to have any needed training done and equipment in place by the end of the year


The plan for future spills would cov-


Silvertip could re-emerge during high waters this spring. Samples of possible oil sheen found on the river this week near Laurel are being tested, and results are due this month from the Montana De- partment of Environmental Quality. DEQ scientist Laura Alvey said Exxon


Thursday, April 12, 2012 ■ Page 21 Better Mont. spill plan eyed by Exxon, agencies


saster and emergency services, Duane Winslow, said that in the future, rural volunteer fi refi ghters could be trained in spill response “so it’s not just Exxon’s 25- person strike force or whatever they had that Saturday morning.” Exxon eventually brought in hundreds


of cleanup contractors but that took time because many came from the Gulf Coast, where spills are more frequent. An Exxon spokesperson said it was


premature to comment since it has not submitted its proposal. But an Exxon emergency response advisor, John Dunn, said this week that the company wants to make the effort “as productive as pos- sible.”


trucking routes cross the entire region — a mix of developed and pristine ar- eas that includes the Yellowstone River’s world famous trout fi shery and Mon- tana’s largest city, Billings. The spill marred about 70 miles of


Pipelines, railways and oil industry Associated Press


riverbank and damaged scores of farms, residences and other riverfront proper- ties. No major drinking water sources were contaminated.


This July 2011 fi le photo shows oil from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline on the Yellowstone River and along its banks near Laurel, Mont. Government agencies are working with Exxon Mobil Corp. to improve oil spill response times along Montana’s upper Yellowstone River following this major spill last year.


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Office of Chairman Tex Hall 701.627.8100


Fred Fox


MHA Nation Tribal Energy Administrator 701.421.0391


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