ExxonMobil Oil Spill Ravages the Shores of the Yellowstone River

by , 07/07/11
Alexis Bonogofsky, Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Exxon, Oil spill, environmental destruction, exxon oil spill, yellowstone oil spill, Montana

© Alexis Bonogofsky

Yet another oil spill has stricken the United States – this time in the Yellowstone River in Montana.  Gallons of thick crude oil have been emptying into the picturesque waterway since last Friday out of a ruptured pipeline. Instead of BP this time, ExxonMobil is to blame, although they say they remain perplexed as to what the cause of the leakage was. With this new development and the numerous spills before it, we have to wonder why there still isn’t more urgency for a non-oil future for the U.S.

Alexis Bonogofsky, Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Exxon, Oil spill, environmental destruction, exxon oil spill, yellowstone oil spill, Montana

© Alexis Bonogofsky

Currently, around 42,000 gallons of crude has dumped into the Yellowstone River, washing up on the shores of many Montana towns. The pipeline, which was said to be safely buried 8 feet under the river, suddenly cracked, possibly due to the erosion power of increasing recent flood waters.

The polluted water is now seeping into nearby farmland, making it impossible for farmers to graze their animals. Some have even reported that the fumes from the spill are so great, they are unable to stay in their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that they may do indoor air testing for such fume claims, but no guarantee has been made yet.

Thus far, the oil spillage has traveled over 80 miles downstream, as well as upstream, reaching parts of North Dakota. The spill, concentrated in the 25 miles closest to the rupture, has invaded waterways, groundwater, and important fishing areas, as well as local farms.

The ruptured pipeline, which is near Laurel, Montana, has been a subject of previous controversy, when it was shut down last May for one day as the rising waters of the Yellowstone were deemed unsafe by local officials. ExxonMobil responded by claiming the pipeline was safe, and turned it back on after 24 hours. Laurel officials have also found ExxonMobil’s response to the recent spill to be somewhat suspect, with slow response times, which included sealing the breakage in twice the amount of time they claimed to (over an hour, even though they reported it was 30 minutes.)

With the vagueness of ExxonMobil’s responses, it is unclear how long it will take to clean up Friday’s spill. The company has been ordered to make safety adjustments before using the ruptured pipeline again, including burying it at 25-30 feet instead of at the previously required 5-8 feet.


Images © Alexis Bonogofsky

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  1. chacesmith July 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    The OSEI Corporation has alerted the federal on scene coordinators with the Coast Guard and EPA for RRT VIII there is enough OSE II to remediate approximately 1,000,000 gallons of fuel or oil in their Dallas warehouse. OSE II was successfully tested by Exxon for the Valdez spill and was recently successfully tested by BP for the Gulf, where BP has requested the implementation of OSE II on the Gulf spill. OSE II was successfully used by the US EPA on a similar spill on the Osage Indian Reservation in Oklahoma, where a pipeline ruptured that crossed over the river. OSE II has successfully cleaned up over 16,000 spills since 1989, and can be used equally on fresh or salt water spills. OSE II was successfully demonstrated in Waveland Beach Mississippi on sensitive marsh grass, and OSE II cleaned up over a 5,000 gallon spill for Texaco on fresh water as well. OSE II is the non toxic first response clean up product that will quickly return the river banks to pre spill conditions.
    See link to EPA river clean up with OSE II http://osei.us/photoalbums/osage-indian-reservation-epa-cleanup

  2. furrukh July 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Oil spills are OKAY and even good for the environment if they are done by American Companies. But if BP is involved its gross negligence, environmental disaster.

  3. caeman July 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    The urgency is there, just that there is no suitable replacement that solves our problems RIGHT NOW and without bankrupting the nation. Change takes time.

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