Contact Us


News Releases - Emergency Response


EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 14, 2011

Release Date: 07/14/2011
Contact Information: Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 14, 2011
Shoreline teams move downriver, cleanup and sampling continue
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 14, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. Today, Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams continue to carefully assess and clean up the most heavily affected areas of the spill and comb the riverbanks. A total of seven SCAT teams are now working along the shores of the Yellowstone River.

“We’re focusing our efforts on vegetation and shoreline cleanup,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “Our SCAT teams are evaluating every section of accessible shoreline to direct cleanup operations and make sure we don’t do more harm than good in these actions.”

Cleanup methods will vary depending on how much oil is present at a location, and SCAT teams will work to ensure a proper balance between cleanup and minimizing further impacts to ecosystems. To better allocate ground resources, the affected areas of the river have been further subdivided. Zones A and B remain the same. Zone C now ends at Yellowstone County line instead of Miles City. Zones D through H correspond with county lines moving east to Glendive, MT.
There are 750 personnel on site with 540 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. Cleanup crews have used over 36,000 feet of absorbent booms and 260,000 absorbent pads, among other materials.. There are 54 boats on scene as well.
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. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil. 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, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.
Tomorrow’s media availability session will be at 11 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 27 North 27th St in Billings. PLEASE NOTE: A conference line is available for media who cannot attend. Please contact the individuals listed at the top of this release for dial-in information.
The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit
Press inquiries: