Yellowstone River Oil Spill

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On July 1, 2011, crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana when a pipeline feeding the ExxonMobil refinery in Lockwood broke. According to ExxonMobil estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river before the pipeline was cut off.

On July 2, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) and other state agencies were notified by Yellowstone County DES that crude oil was released into the Yellowstone River from an ExxonMobil Company pipeline at Laurel and that evacuations had taken place in the immediate area of the spill due to the odor from the oil.

Dispatch offices were notified by Yellowstone County DES as far downstream as Sidney. The Department of Environmental Quality is continuing to make further notifications through their Public Water Supply Division as needed.

REGION VIII Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is said to be coordinating Unified Command for the incident, which includes the EPA, State of Montana and Exxon Mobile.

Other notifications by State DES were made to the following entities: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, North Dakota Disaster and Emergency Management, National Response Center (for incidents involving Hazardous Materials), PPL Montana.

On July 6th, EPA issued an order to ExxonMobil, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, directing the company to take a number of clean-up and restoration activities as a result of an oil spill into the Yellowstone River.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has issued a consumption advisory for fish caught in the Yellowstone River in the area of the oil spill.

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