Oil Spill Spreads in Yellowstone River

Oil leaked from an Exxon Mobile pipeline near Laurel, Montana, has spread fifteen miles from its source, five miles further than previously thought, contaminating the Yellowstone River.

What's the Latest Development?

In the aftermath of news that an oil spill into Montana's Yellowstone river has spread further than expected, Governor Bill Schweitzer is calling for a review of all oil and gas pipelines that cross state waterways. "The cause of the spill has not been determined, but officials have speculated that surging waters may have scoured the river bottom and exposed the pipeline to debris that could have damaged the pipe." President of Exxon Mobile Pipeline Company Gary Pruessing said high river levels were complicating cleanup efforts. 

What's the Big Idea?

The spill in Montana, which is 100 miles downstream from Yellowstone National Park, is yet another price we pay for our dependency on petroleum oil. While electric vehicles, solar panels and new windmills are being developed, our reliance on crude will not stop, despite its inherent environmental drawbacks. One woman has already been taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with acute hydrocarbon exposure. "The Yellowstone River, the longest undammed river in the continental United States, is renowned for its trout fishing and bird life."

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(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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