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Yellowstone Waters Swell as Oil Spill Spreads

Exxon admits contamination beyond 10-mile zone
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 7:56 AM CDT

(Newser) Exxon Mobil's Montana oil spill cleanup faces a big hurdle today as the swollen Yellowstone River peaks at Billings this afternoon. The rising water means that areas already cleaned may be re-contaminated, and the AP reports that Exxon officials acknowledged under fire yesterday that the scope of the disaster was at least five miles beyond the 10-mile radius it initially said was affected. "We're not limiting the scope of our cleanup to the immediate site," said Exxon CEO Gary Pruessing. "We are not trying to suggest in any way that that's the limit of exposure."

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Pressure is mounting on Exxon as allegations surface that it ignored potential safety problems with the line, which was likely ruptured by objects in the flooding river scraping it. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is calling for a review of all pipelines in the vicinity of water, reports the LA Times. "We'll make the decision over the next couple of days whether to shut off some pipelines," Schweitzer said. "The last thing I want is for another pipeline to break." (Read more Yellowstone National Park stories.)

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