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EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 16, 2011

Release Date: 07/16/2011
Contact Information: Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov);  Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 16, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 16, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. This weekend, EPA and DOT partners are overseeing Exxon’s removal of any residual oil from two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. EPA and the state have reviewed and approved these procedures to ensure that there are no further releases of oil into the environment as a result of these activities.

Today the north segment of the pipeline was drained of approximately 8400 gallons (200 barrels) of oily water without any releases to the environment and was trucked back to ExxonMobil Billings Refinery for storage while samples are being analyzed. Sunday, the south segment of the pipeline will be vacuumed and we anticipate there will be a higher volume of residual oil in that segment due to the way fluids travelled through the pipeline during the spill.  Approved procedures are in place to ensure that residual oil and water are properly and safely removed.

There are over 700 personnel on site with over 500 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities.  About 13% of these personnel are local hires. There are over 50 boats on scene as well.

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning Monday, July 18th, our daily media briefings will occur via conference call only, at 3:00pm MDT.   There is no call on Sunday, July 17th. There will be no press releases this weekend but we will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration on our website, www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill. For conference call dial-in information, please contact the people listed above.

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.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

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, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.