Exxon faces legal case over Montana spill

Oct. 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM

BILLINGS, Mont., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Montana landowners said they're suing Exxon Mobil for a 2011 oil spill in the Yellowstone River because of property damage.

Firm Western Justice Associates filed a lawsuit in Montana's Gallatin County on behalf of 14 plaintiffs who said health, livestock and property suffered because of a spill from the Silvertip oil pipeline in 2011, reports local broadcaster KTVQ in Billings, Mont.

Exxon said it expected to pay more than $100 million in cleanup operations for the July 2011 rupture near Billings. An estimated 1,200 barrels of oil spilled from the pipeline into the Yellowstone River.

Lawyers said Exxon must face justice over the spill, which the suit says could have been prevented.

After the spill, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer called for a review of the 9,000 pipelines that cross waterways in the state. Scouring of the pipeline, which was about 4 feet below the river bottom, is suspected of contributing to the rupture of Silvertip.

Exxon has since bored holes under the river to bury the pipeline deeper beneath the surface.

A similar case against Exxon is pending in a Montana district court in Yellowstone County.

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