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EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 21, 2011

Release Date: 07/21/2011
Contact Information: Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 21, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 21, 2011) ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. cleanup crews have completed the initial stage of work on 4 of the 25 originally identified spill sites. These sites were targeted due to large quantities of easily accessed debris and vegetation.  To date, crews have completed assessment of over 1200 acres in and along the river corridor.

A heavy lift helicopter (an S-61) was tested in preparation for moving small pieces of equipment, such as bobcats, chippers and small dumpsters to the islands to support upcoming island cleanup efforts.

Today 7 members of the Crow Nation visited the cleanup site and received a tour of site activities and an explanation of Unified Command. The Crow Nation members will be involved in all aspects of the process, including SCAT, consolidated cleanup recommendations, and sign-off.   At EPA’s request, ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. will provide health and safety training to the Crow Nation members so they can fully participate in the response.

PLEASE NOTE:  After Friday’s media briefing at 3:00, the next media call will take place on Wednesday, July 27th at 3:00 MDT.  There will be no calls over the weekend. If there are any new developments, we will send out a media advisory.  For conference call dial-in information please contact Wendy Thomi listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11:00 PM on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.  EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.