Environmental Justice

Yellowstone River Oil Spill Aroma in the Air

GLENDIVE, Mont. – An oil pipeline leak into the Yellowstone River last weekend still is being assessed, but . . .

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-01-20/environment/yel . . .

Yellowstone River Oil Spill Aroma in the Air

PHOTO: Last weekend's oil spill along the Yellowstone River appears to be similar in size to the 2011 spill pictured here, which also affected the Yellowstone River. This spill took months to clean and cost $135 million, but cleanup efforts for the current spill have been hampered because of the frozen river and wintertime conditions. Photo courtesy of the EPA.

PHOTO: Last weekend’s oil spill along the Yellowstone River appears to be similar in size to the 2011 spill pictured here, which also affected the Yellowstone River. This spill took months to clean and cost $135 million, but cleanup efforts for the current spill have been hampered because of the frozen river and wintertime conditions. Photo courtesy of the EPA.

January 20, 2015

GLENDIVE, Mont. – An oil pipeline leak into the Yellowstone River last weekend still is being assessed, but a Bridger Pipeline company spokesman says it’s estimated that about 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude spilled into the water upstream of Glendive.

Dena Hoff, a member of the Northern Plains Resource Council, ranches and farms downstream from the spill. The river runs along the edge of her property.

“It’s a fourth of a mile from my house and you can smell it, even though it’s under the ice,” she says. “How are they going to clean it up?”

In 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked into the Yellowstone River, spilling about 63,000 gallons. Cleanup costs for that spill totaled about $135 million.

Hoff says this spill should be a clear sign the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is too risky, as it would also cross the Yellowstone River. And as was the case in 2011, Hoff says there are many questions about the damage in the latest spill that will likely take months to answer.

“For the people in Lower Yellowstone Irrigation District, what’s going to happen to their irrigation water?” she asks. “What’s going to happen to the paddlefish at the intake diversion, where the paddlefish come up every May?”

Hoff was out of town when the spill happened Saturday morning. She says even though she lives near the spill zone, she was not informed about what was going on until she started asking questions about why there were “so many lights down by the river,” and heard from a friend the water coming out of the faucet “smelled like oil.” The city of Glendive gets its water from the Yellowstone River.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service – MT

– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-01-20/environment/yellowstone-river-oil-spill-aroma-in-the-air/a44092-1#sthash.MwcfJyCv.dpuf

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