Exxon Mobil has admitted the Yellowstone oil spill they said had been contained to just ten miles, has now spread to at least fifteen miles from the source of the leak. Cleanup efforts of the estimated 42,000 gallons of oil have been ongoing. Such an outpouring of crude oil is not at all sitting well in Montana, where residents are known for having a deep, if not fierce, love of the land. (In Texas where oil derricks are common, perhaps the reaction would be different.) Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said, “We’ll make the decision over the next couple of days whether to shut off some pipelines. The last thing I want is for another pipeline to break.” (Source: LATimes.com)
Governor Schweitzer is trying to lead on energy issues in his state, and actually said this about Big Oil, “There’s enough money in big oil to buy Congress for years into the future.” (Source: theoildrum.com)
Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing seemed to actually partly blame the Yellowstone River for the spill effects, “The river is well over its banks, very turbulent. I’ve never seen the river like this in my life.” Official word from Exxon Mobil doesn’t appear to be the most credible source of information, considering the huge oil company has been a consistent funder of research saying climate change is not happening due to human activities. Also, Exxon Mobil was just ordered to pay $1.5 billion dollars for a 2006 gasoline leak in Maryland.
It has been speculated that the leak was caused by debris from the extra river water damaging the pipeline, but why is the pipeline even located in a place where such damage could take place? The pipeline was buried below the river six to thirteen feet deep. How about not building oil pipelines in rivers, so they don’t release toxic crude oil into aquatic habitats and threaten the lives of many species of animals and plants? Exxon Mobil turned off one of the pipelines, but still doesn’t know where the leak began.
“I think regulators really need to be evaluating areas where we can’t afford to have spills and creating, you know, a level of oversight and safety in those areas,” explained Anthony Swift from the Natural Resources Defense Council. (Source: LATimes.com)
The current oil leak started near Laurel, Montana where there is an oil refinery. About 6,700 people live in the small town that also has a large rail yard.
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