Yellowstone Oil Spill Spreads, Locals Criticize Exxon

Posted by - Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

It looks as if major, life-killing oil spills will never really be a thing of the past. Despite all the harsh realities faced in previous disasters -like the BP disaster just over a year ago- oil companies either haven't learned their lessons, don't care, or are unnaturally unlucky.

Whatever the kink or flaw in the system is, be it carelessness or unforseeable misfortune, the public is not happy with the situation in Laurel, Montana (near Yellowstone National Park).

On Monday, July 4, Exxon Mobil admitted that the spill had spread five miles further than they estimated just a day beforehand.

Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer have both announced their committment to take whatever actions necessary to combat the current crisis.

Meanwhile, concerns and fears of another pipeline bursting linger as the decision of whether or not to deactivate the other pipelines has not yet been confirmed.

This weekend a 12-inch pipeline at the bottom of Yellowstone River, near Billings burst, spilling an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil into the waterway.

Exxon Mobil is continuing their efforts to check the air and water for safety measures. At this time, the degree of wildlife damage is uncertain.

oil spill

Some locals have reported sickness due to exposure to the oil fumes. A goat farmer by the name of Mike Scott confronted Pruessing, angry that his wife had to be hospitalized in response to her reaction to those fumes: dizziness, nausea, and trouble breathing. She was diagnosed on Monday with acute hydrocarbon exposure.

Many residents were evacuted Saturday, but have since been allowed to return. Clean-up processes are underway, yet it is unclear how long it will take, with some inevitable irreversible damage to the nearby wildlife ecosystem.


Brittany Stepniak

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