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EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 11, 2011

Release Date: 07/11/2011
Contact Information: Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

Community meeting to be held in Laurel on Wednesday night

(Billings, Mont --, July 11, 2011) At approximately 11:00 PM on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off. EPA is on-site and is directing and overseeing cleanup efforts, conducting air and water sampling and holding ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment and EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. There are nearly 600 responders on scene conducting cleanup activities on various parts of the river. EPA will continue to direct and oversee the cleanup and restoration of the Yellowstone River and will continue to work to ensure people's health and the environment are protected.

EPA is providing ongoing water and air monitoring in the impacted areas of Montana, and will continue to sample wells that provide drinking water to homes and businesses. As water levels recede and shorelines become more accessible, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT) will be deployed to begin shoreline cleaning.

Over the weekend, ExxonMobil delivered a draft work plan to EPA. The work plan contains seven elements. EPA has determined three of those elements require further clarification and scope definition by the company. EPA has instructed ExxonMobil to provide a revised plan within the week. Those three areas that will be addressed are the oil recovery containment, source release area, and remediation sections of the plan. For further information please see the Administrative Order posted at the website below.

Media availability sessions will continue to be held by EPA daily at 11 a.m. The session will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 27 North 27th Street in Billings, Conference Room 5 (3rd floor).

EPA will hold a community meeting at the Laurel High School on Wednesday, July 13th at 6:30 p.m. The high school is located at 203 East 8th Street in Laurel. At the event, EPA will provide an update on the cleanup and local public health representatives will address human health issues associated with the spill. In addition state and other federal agencies will be available to answer questions. Company representatives will also be available. An availability session to address specific needs will be held afterward. Media are encouraged to attend.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Website: http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill