Exxon may owe $1.7M for 2011 Mont. oil spill

Posted: Mar 29, 2013

Written by

MATTHEW BROWN, AP/GW
Yellowstone River

Transportation Department regulators yesterday proposed that Exxon Mobil Corp. pay $1.7 million in civil penalties for safety violations related to a ruptured pipeline.

The July 2011 rupture resulted in 63,000 gallons of crude oil spilling into Montana's Yellowstone River, polluting 70 miles of its waterways and killing fish and wildlife. Bad decisions by Exxon led to the spill, including the failure to close an upstream safety valve that could have reduced the spill's size, regulators said.

Additionally, the company had failed to address flood risks and take proper spill-prevention measures.

"Failure over an extended period of time to recognize those threats ... was a major cause of the failure," the notice read.

Exxon was disappointed with the government's proposal, spokesman Patrick Henretty said. While the company was still reviewing the notice, he said it appeared to run contrary to a December 2012 report that said the company had taken "reasonable precautions to address the flooding."



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