At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, a pipeline breach spilled up to 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near Glendive, in eastern Montana. This recent spill sits just over 200 miles upriver from the site of a 2011 Exxon Mobil pipeline breach which sent 63,000 gallons of oil into an 85-mile stretch of river and riverbed.
The Bridger Pipeline Co., which owns the broken line, stated on Saturday that they were able to shut off the 12-inch diameter line shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday. Initial estimates show 300 to 1,200 barrels of crude oil leaked from the pipeline, with and unknown quantity flowing into the river.
A spokesperson for Montana Governor Steve Bullock explained in a statement that they were unaware of any threat to public health and safety, and that the environmental impact of the spill may be diminished by the winter weather: “some of the oil did get into the water, but the area where it spilled was frozen over and that may reduce the impact.”
Vice President of Bridger, Tad True, told media that “Our primary concern is to minimize the environmental impact of the release and keep our responders safe as we clean up from this unfortunate incident.”
This, moderately large-sale incident is, of course, alarming—especially in the context of the damage wrought in 2011’s spill. However it is one of hundreds that occur every year, with relativity few making the headlines. One study found that between 2010 to 2013 the US experienced some 1400 oil pipeline spills and accidents across a network of 185,000 miles.