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ExxonMobil to pay further $12 million in Montana oil spill settlement

23 September 2016

US oil major ExxonMobil has agreed to pay $12 million to the state of Montana and the US government to restore natural resources damaged or destroyed by a pipeline break in 2011 that spilled oil into the Yellowstone River, according to a settlement proposed on September 21.

Image - US NPS
Image - US NPS

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company's Silvertip pipeline burst on July 1, 2011, at a crossing beneath the flood-swollen Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana, about 240 km) downstream from Yellowstone National Park.

The release of 1,500 barrels of crude oil affected 85 miles of a river known for its clean waters, wealth of wildlife and world-class fisheries. Under the agreement, the money would be used to mitigate harm caused by the spill to fish, wildlife, migratory birds and aquatic habitat.

The deal must be approved by a US District Court judge in Montana and is subject to 30 days of public comment.

Under a 2012 deal between Exxon and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the oil company paid a fine of $1.6 million in connection with the spill, the largest penalty ever levied in the state for violations of its water quality regulations.

The same year, Exxon estimated its overall response to the spill, including cleanup, would cost $135 million and said it had reached compensation agreements with more than 95% of affected property owners.

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