Montana oil spill response stalled by weather

About 1,000 barrels spilled in Yellowstone River in mid January.

By Daniel J. Graeber

GLENDIVE, Mont., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Crews working to respond to an oil spill in the Yellowstone River in Montana said they haven't been able to work for a week because of frigid weather.

Much of the eastern half of the United States is in a deep freeze. Snow is forecast by the National Weather Service for parts of Montana, with highs below freezing for Friday. Weekend highs will struggle to break 15 degrees Fahrenheit.


Crews responding to a Jan. 17 breach from the Poplar pipeline, operated by Bridger Pipeline, have been unable to remove any residual oil since Feb. 20 because of cold weather and ice conditions on the Yellowstone River.

About 1,000 barrels of oil spilled from the pipeline. To date, about 548 barrels have been recovered.

"Response teams remain in Glendive, Mont., to respond to reports of oil and planning for recovery efforts when the river is no longer covered with ice," the response team said in a statement Thursday.

Responders have carved trenches in the ice in an effort to recover some of the residual oil.

Area residents were forced to use bottled water in the immediate aftermath of the spill, though the all-clear was given Jan. 22.


Survey crews found the ruptured section of the pipeline exposed above the bed of the Yellowstone River. A 2011 spill from the Silvertip pipeline, operated by Chevron, was blamed on river scour.

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