Cost for Silvertip spill cleanup rises

Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:32 AM
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BILLINGS, Mont., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The cost of cleaning up from a July oil spill in Montana is expected to run almost three times its initial estimate, or $135 million, Exxon Mobil said.

Exxon said it expected to pay $135 million in cleanup operations for the July rupture of the Silvertip oil pipeline near Billings, Mont. The original bill was estimated at $42.6 million, and the increase is largely from the emergency response, landowner claims and restart costs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"We continue to work under the direction of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality as we have now transitioned into reclamation and remediation work," Exxon spokeswoman Rachael Moore was quoted as saying.

Around 1,200 barrels of oil spilled from Exxon Mobil's Silvertip pipeline into the Yellowstone River near Billings in early July. Flooding slowed cleanup efforts and teams were sent in to remove debris soaked with oil after water levels dropped.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in September approved the energy company's return-to-service plan, which allows Exxon to restart operations on Silvertip.

The PHMSA added it was still determining whether Exxon broke safety regulations during the days leading up to the July 1 failure on the pipeline.

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