By: Duane Craig
Landowners in Eastern Montana have filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. for property damage from last year’s crude oil spill that contaminated the Yellowstone River. The landowners claim damage to their property and livestock from exposure to the oil, and also claim Exxon had ample opportunity to shut down the pipeline and prevent the spill altogether. Another lawsuit by a separate group of landowners is pending.
A section of the pipeline that was installed in 1991 had been scoured by flooding over the years which eventually caused it to fail and spill 1,500 barrels of crude oil, investigators surmised. Officials from one town had warned Exxon about the risks on several occasions. Still, the company continued flowing oil through the pipeline even when flooding was predicted, according to the suit. Other pipeline operators had shut down their lines under the same circumstances.
The spill contaminated about 70 miles of Yellowstone’s banks causing more damage to property than all other accidents in Montana during the past 10 years. You can get more details on the story here, and here.