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EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 20, 2011

Release Date: 07/20/2011
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 20, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 20, 2011) We received the revised workplan from ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. last night at 5pm.  EPA, and our state and federal partners will complete our review of revisions and will make a final decision on the workplan by early next week.  All cleanup activities are continuing under the direction of the Unified Command.

The Unified Command is testing and evaluating numerous cleanup options. Today, cleanup crews tested a high water pressure device for removing oil from flood debris. This method proved to be ineffective for removing oil and will not likely be used as a clean up technique. Use of in-situ burning to address flood debris piles is not being considered for current operations, although it may still be considered in the future. This is primarily due to technical and logistical constraints specific to the sites currently under review.

PLEASE NOTE:  Our daily media briefings continue this week via conference call only, at 3:00pm MDT. For conference call dial-in information, please contact Lisa McClain-Vanderpool 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.