Weekend Oil Spill into Yellowstone River Leaves Montanans Concerned – Questions Asked if Keystone XL Construction Should Continue
A pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River over the weekend has triggered responses form conservations groups. Scott Bossy with American Rivers said the recent Bridger Pipeline Company spill is especially concerning.
"Well obviously I'm very saddened like most Montanans are and more than a little angry because this is the second major oil pipeline spill in the last four years," Bossy said. "Given the fact that Congress just passed new pipeline safety legislation at the end of 2011, it's really inexcusable to see this happen again.
Bossy said the spill should lead to closer examination of Keystone XL.
"If it is built, it's going to cross the Yellowstone River just a few miles upstream where the spill on Saturday happened," Bossy said. "Throughout its route from Canada down to southern Nebraska, Keystone XL would cross 1,904 rivers, streams and reservoirs. There is a lot of potential for future oil spills if Keystone XL is built."
The last oil spill to hit the Yellowstone River was near Laurel, back in July 2011.
Governor Steve Bullock visited the site of the oil spill today and announced a series of initial steps to ensure the health and safety of Montanans, as well as evaluating impacts on Montana wildlife.
"The health and safety of Montanans in the area impacted by this oil spill is my top concern," Bullock said. "Local, state and federal officials are working together to quicly assess this situation and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, the oil is cleaned up and all damages are addressed. My expectation is that the cleanup will continue until it meets the standard of me and the people of Montana."
At the direction of Bullock, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Department of Military Affairs have taken an active role in the oversight of this hazardous materials response in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bullock has committed all available resources and taken all possible actions to respond, mitigate and alleviate the situation.