EPA pulls crude from Montana oil pipeline

BILLINGS, Mont., July 18 (UPI) -- Residual oil in the ruptured section of the Silvertip pipeline near Billings, Mont., was extracted during the weekend, the EPA said.

A break was reported July 1 on the 12-inch Silvertip pipeline. Exxon Mobile, the owner of the pipeline, said it estimated that about 1,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River before the pipeline was closed.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that about 200 barrels of oil was drained from the pipeline and sent to an Exxon refinery in Billings, Mont., for analysis. The southern segment of the pipeline was vacuumed Sunday, though the EPA didn't report the crude volume extracted.

Exxon authorities testified before U.S. lawmakers last week. The company was criticized for discrepancies in the amount of crude oil reported spilled versus the varying times reported for closing the ruptured pipeline.

Exxon officials during an interview with National Public Radio last week said they've had a tough time trying to reach Montana's governor regarding the spill. They said they haven't been able to reach him after trying "three or four times."

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who has pressed Exxon for information about the type of crude oil in the pipeline, said in a letter to the oil company he was surprised by the NPR interview.


"It is not that hard to reach me," he said.

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