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The Billings Gazette reports that “an oil spill on the Yellowstone River prompted evacuations from Laurel to Lockwood early Saturday morning.” A 12-inch pipeline from the Exxon refinery in Laurel ruptured late last night spilling oil into the river. By morning the oil sheen was visible for 100 miles downstream to Custer. Exxon still doesn’t know the cause of the rupture or how much oil was spilled before they turned off the pipeline. Oil could be smelled up to a half mile from the river near Billings. Twelve hours later, Exxon was still reporting that its Global Response Team from Houston is on its way to Billings as well as two 100-man cleanup teams from Washington state. Not a lot of help for the hundreds of folks along the river who had to be evacuated.

“I still smell like oil. My whole house smells like diesel fuel. It was everywhere on the river — an oil slick on Billings’ West End.

“The river will never be the same,” said Glen Wells from near Billings.

June 7, thousands of gallons of oil were spilled into Emigrant Creek south of Rawlins, Wyoming. The spill went on for weeks before being noticed by a local resident.

June 8, the Sinclair Refinery in Wyoming was fined $850,000 for a 2010 spill of thousands of gallons of oil at its refinery that killed 150 birds and may have been the largest spill fine in Wyoming history. That fine followed a $660,000 fine for a gasoline spill of 3 million gallons in 2009.

June 16, “TransCanada Corp. executives said they have found and fixed the cause of a series of small oil spills in the company’s Keystone pipeline system, which ships Canadian oil to the U.S.”

June 27, a explosion at an oil facility in Alberta resulted in 500 barrels of fluids spilled in and around Judy Creek before the 1.5-kilometer pipeline was shut down.

Early May, more than 14,000 gallons of crude oil gushed from a pumping station in Brampton, N.D., about 75 miles southwest of Fargo. “TransCanada Corp. began operating the Keystone I pipeline less than a year ago, and the project has already suffered 12 spills — yet the company had pledged a leak should only occur once every seven years, according to the Dakota Resource Council.”

Where did you say you are driving for the Fourth of July weekend?


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