Montana completes pipeline safety review

Montana’s Oil Pipeline Safety Review Council, formed July 20, 2011, in the wake of ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.’s 1,000-bbl crude spill into the Yellowstone River, has issued its recommendations to the governor’s office. Among the council’s recommendations were increased funding for government inspections and upgrades to pipeline systems by the operating companies.

Other recommendations included Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) maintaining an agreement with the US Pipeline and Hazardous Material’s Safety Administration (PHMSA) to keep the Montana pipeline safety map current, holding twice-yearly meetings on pipeline safety, and coordination of geospatial information regarding pipelines and the states waterways. The recommendations, however, are non-binding.

The July 1 spill from ExxonMobil’s 69-mile, 12-in. OD Silvertip pipeline prompted US Environmental Protection Agency assessment of 47 miles of the Yellowstone's riverbank, reporting light-to-moderate oil coverage on shoreline and island vegetation (OGJ Online, July 19, 2012).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at

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