Exxon Directed To Increase Safety Of Yellowstone River Pipeline

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently issued a corrective action order to the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company that will require the company to re-bury the pipeline underneath the Yellowstone river bed to protect it from external damage and conduct a risk assessment on the Silvertip pipeline where it crosses any waterway. Exxon will then be required to submit a restart plan before operation can resume.

Early in the morning on July 2, residents of Laurel, Montana, were evacuated from their homes when the pipeline owned by ExxonMobil ruptured, spilling approximately 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the swollen Yellowstone River.

“The safety of our nation’s pipelines is a priority and the investigation into this incident is ongoing,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “It is our responsibility to ensure pipelines are safely delivering energy to U.S. households and businesses, and when companies are not living up to our safety standards, we will take action. We will continue to work with the EPA, while ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.”

This spring, in the wake of several major pipeline accidents, Secretary LaHood announced a pipeline safety action plan to immediately begin addressing concerns about the state of the nation’s aging pipeline infrastructure. Unfortunately, LaHood put the burden of  identifying and repairing areas high risk pipeline completely in the hands of the U.S. pipeline owners and operators themselves.

(Sorry Sec. LaHood, but pretty-please asking the oil companies to make sure they don’t destroy our environment isn’t really enough. If the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico taught us anything, it’s that safety isn’t the first priority in the petroleum industry).

Secretary LaHood also proposed federal legislation to strengthen oversight on pipeline safety. The legislation would increase the maximum civil penalties for pipeline violations from $100,000 per day to $250,000 per day, and from $1 million for a series of violations to $2.5 million for a series of violations.

The proposal would also authorize the Department to close regulatory loopholes, strengthen risk management requirements, add more inspectors, and improve data reporting to help identify potential pipeline safety risks early.

Related Reading:

ExxonMobil Pipeline Spills Oil Into Yellowstone River

Deja Vu: Pipeline Explosion Causes Oil Spill In China

The After-Effects Of The BP Oil Spill

Michigan Oil Spill Prompts Local Evacuations

Image Credit: Flickr – Neubie

39 comments

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Next time I hope to read; Exxon directed to end their own existence!

Lisa B.
Elizabeth B.5 years ago

They now want to put in the XL Pipeline for fracking! It is all about money and people, animals, and the environment get trampled for a couple of rich tycoons.

Dolores M.
Dolores M.5 years ago

Thank you Nelson. You hit the nail on the head! Don't you just that all might $$$?

Dianna M.
Dianna M.5 years ago

"Of course it's safe! Would we lie to you?"

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Too little, much too late.

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams5 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Marie W.
Marie W.5 years ago

Everyone already gets the barn door analogy.

Rob K.
Rob Keenan5 years ago

The pipeline never should have been open while the Yellowstone River was running so high and so fast.This is more evidence that whether it's imported or domestic our nation needs to drasticly reduce it's addiction to oil. Because this,coming the year after the massive Gulf Mexico Deepwater Horizons spill show's that Big Oil continues to care far more about it's obscene profits than it cares about safety!

Wendy B.
Wendy B.5 years ago

Another oil spill. I fear we will never learn any lessons here and just keep on doing.

Abbe A.
Azaima A.5 years ago

It's a little late now.