Exxon still working on Montana oil spill

Dec. 29, 2011 at 6:46 AM

BILLINGS, Mont., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Crews working for Exxon Mobil finished pulling a broken section of pipeline from the Yellowstone River in Montana six months after a spill, an official said.

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

Exxon officials said crews have pulled a broken section of the Silvertip pipeline from the Yellowstone River near Billings.

"Restoration activity and demobilization of equipment remain ongoing in the area near the Yellowstone River," Exxon spokeswoman Patty Errico was quoted by the Billings Gazette as saying.

Crews working for Exxon set up a coffer dam around the pipeline and deployed mechanical "pigs" to clean out the damaged section in November. Exxon at the time said it would take several weeks to get the pipeline out of the ground.

Oil has been moving through a new section of the pipeline since October. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will test the broken section of the Silvertip pipeline to determine the cause of the July rupture.

Property owners near the site of the spill last month filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages from Exxon for damage caused to their land and businesses.

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