Posted: Jan 2, 2013 9:37 PM by MTN News - Q2
A new federal report confirms that ExxonMobil did not do enough to prevent 1,500 barrels of oil from spilling into the Yellowstone River.
Federal regulators say despite warnings from Laurel City officials just one week before the July 1st 2011 spill, ExxonMobil failed to appropriately shut down a crude oil pipeline that eventually broke spewing 63,000 gallons of crude into the river. In fact, the company shut down one valve within 10 minutes, but it took nearly 46 minutes to shut down all of the valves.
That delay, according to the report, allowed an additional 1,000 barrels of oil to leak into the river fouling a 70-mile stretch of the Yellowstone.
The report does not fault the company for failing to detect any problems with the pipeline in the weeks leading up to the spill.
The report from the US Department of Transportation confirms the line broke due to flooding and scouring of the riverbed.
Investigators say Exxon conducted daily drive-by checks in the general river area and could not do much more due to flood conditions at the time.
Montana's Senior Senator, Max Baucus says: "Transparency and oversight are critical to make sure we never have to go through the devastation of the Yellowstone River oil spill again. Montanans deserve to know the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the pipelines that are running under our rivers and through our communities." Baucus introduced legislation to address pipeline safety oversight - and he is vowing to ensure new reforms are being implemented.
The federal report recommends ExxonMobil put new safety procedures in place - specifically that all valves be shut down immediately following a break.
Photo credit: CBS news