Pipeline Rupture Spills Crude Into Yellowstone River

Up to 42,000 gallons of oil heading toward Missouri River
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Larry-Crehore
Posted Jul 3, 2011 6:19 AM CDT
Oil swirls in a flooded gravel pit in Lockwood, Mont. after a pipeline break early Saturday, July 2, 2011. The ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River near Billings in south-central...   (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)
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(Newser) – Up to 42,000 gallons of oil from a ruptured pipeline in Montana is surging through a flood-swollen Yellowstone River, creating an environmental mess that is threatening to reach the Missouri River, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Exxon Mobile pipeline, which runs under the Yellowstone River to a refinery in Billings, Mont., ruptured late Friday for about half an hour before it was shut off, fouling the riverbanks and forcing a temporary evacuation for 20 miles down the river.

"The timing couldn't be worse," said the chief of Montana's disaster services. "With the Yellowstone running at flood stage and all the debris, it makes it dang tough to get out there to do anything." While Exxon and local emergency teams try to clean up the spill, the strong flood currents is taking the crude swiftly downstream. "I'm sure the bulk of the oil is going to go to the Missouri River," said an official. Exxon Mobile said in a statement that it "deeply regrets this release."

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