Reps. Rehberg and Shuster Visit the Oil Spill Site


Posted by John Walton 8.23.11

On Saturday August 20th  at the request of Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana, Congressman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania who is Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Material came to see the site of the Yellowstone River oil spill as well as the progress of the clean up. Afterwards Congressman Shuster talked about pipeline safety.

Congressman Shuster on Pipeline Safety



The pipeline was originally buried five to seven feet below the riverbed and investigators believe that the pipe was damaged due to the extreme flooding.


This has raised questions about the safety of using pipelines to transport oil. So I asked Congressman Shuster if there is a safer way.


Representative Shuster Responds



Congressman Shuster’s Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Material is currently working on legislation that would update federal pipeline safety regulations.


With that in mind, Congressman Rehberg invited Shuster to get a first hand account.


Congressman Shuster, “The importance of seeing this first hand.” 


The two representatives toured the Yellowstone by helicopter and afterward Congressman Rehberg shared what they saw.


Congressman Rehberg updates us on the clean up  


Congressman Rehberg also commended Exxon’s conduct towards landowners and the significant progress they have made in the clean up process.


The July 1st oil spill will cost ExxonMobil $42.6 million and of that an estimated $2.5 million will go towards property claims.

Exxon is also securing permits to fix and rebury the pipleine using horizontal drilling technology. This will allow them to drill and lay the pipe 42 feet under the Yellowstone riverbed.  


The actual cause of the leak is still under investigation.


Story updated on 8.19.11 see Neal Fehringer below:

Original story with Steve Lackman 8.16.11

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 9 weeks since an Exxon Mobil pipeline near Laurel was damaged.  That damage caused an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil to leak into the Yellowstone River.

Since then Exxon has deployed cleanup crews and partnered with local experts to find best approach to help local farmers and ranchers who were impacted by the oil.

One of those experts is Steve Lackman, the MSU Ag Extension Agent for Yellowstone County. 

Hear from Steve, part of the agricultural lands subcommittee dealing with how the oil spill affects crops and livestock.

Steve also gave an update of the cleaning process.

Steve says that of the 3,200 acres that were considered contaminated, only 11 acres were considered heavily contaminated.  Another 260 were considered moderate.


Exxon has also been working with Neal Fehringer one of the nations leading Professional Agronomists to better serve the farmers and ranchers downstream of the leak. I asked Neal what steps crop producers need to take if their land was exposed to oil.  

Neal Fehringer : Steps Crop Producers should take 

I also asked if there was anything livestock producers should do to keep their livestock away from the oil contamination.

Neal Fehringer : Steps Livestock Producers should take

 If your land has been contaminated by oil you should contact the Exxon Mobil hotline as soon as possible at 888.382.0043. Another thing you can do is check out the Yellowstone County fact sheets on the Yellowstone County website.

©  Northern Ag Network 2011

John Walton & Haylie Shipp


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