Exxon sued over Montana oil spill

Oct. 6, 2011 at 9:08 AM   |   Comments

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BILLINGS, Mont., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Exxon Mobil did a shoddy job of responding to an oil spill in the Yellowstone River after its Silvertip pipeline burst in July, an attorney 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.

Cliff Edwards, an attorney in Billings, filed a class-action suit against Exxon in Yellowstone Country on behalf of eight landowners who are seeking compensation for damage to their land and businesses, the Billings Gazette reports.

The lawsuit alleges that Exxon's response to the spill was "sloppy."

"The only thing corporations understand is money and I intend to cost them enough money for what they did to make them think twice before they do this again," Edwards was quoted as saying.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said it approved of 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.

Exxon last month replaced the ruptured section of the Silvertip pipeline and buried it more than 50 feet below the river bed. The original section was less than 10 feet underground, within regulatory limits.

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