After the Yellowstone River Spill, Stop Letting the Oil Industry Off the Hook
On Friday July 1st an ExxonMobil oil pipeline under the Yellowstone River broke and spilled thousands of gallons of oil. The Yellowstone River in Montana is the longest undammed river in the United States. It is also known for its trout fishing and bird life, which attracts tourists. The 42,000 gallons of oil have since spread at least 15 miles, affect neighboring farmers and ranchers.
Pipelines account for 16 times more spills than ocean drilling in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation notified Exxon Mobil in July 2010 of seven potential safety violations and other problems along the pipeline. Exxon Mobil did nothing, and the U.S. government did not hold them accountable. This is from a company that only pays a 2.6% tax rate!
Members of the affected communities have already begun to suffer from illnesses such as “acute hydrocarbon exposure.” To make matters worse, flooding has delayed the cleanup process. Exxon has since said that they will do “whatever is necessary” to cleanup the spill, but they have to wait for the river to subside.
Our thoughts are with the members of the affected communities, wildlife and ecosystems in Montana. But we need to make sure this never happens again. Tell President Barack Obama, the Department of Transportation and the Department of the Interior to add teeth to their regulations and not hesitate to fine violators like Exxon Mobil.
- Administrator of Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Admin, U.S. Department of Transportation
Cynthia L. Quarterman
- Secretary, Department of Interior
- President of the United States
Friday's pipeline oil spill into the Yellowstone River was tragic and predictable. Pipelines leak 16 times more oil than ocean spills. Where there is oil, there are spills, but it doesn't help that oil industry wrote the laws that regulate them. Please tighten regulations on oil pipelines and do not hesitate to fine violators.
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