State, Federal Agency Seek Damages for Yellowstone Oil Spill

Spill temporarily contaminated water supplies for 6,000 people.

By Justin Franz

BILLINGS — The state of Montana and U.S. Department of Interior say they’ll seek compensation for environmental damages caused by a 30,000-gallon pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River.

Most of the oil from Bridger Pipeline Company’s 2015 spill near the North Dakota border was never recovered. The river was frozen when the break occurred.

The spill temporarily contaminated water supplies for 6,000 people.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says it’s too early to say how much money will be sought from Bridger.

Exxon Mobil recently agreed to pay $12 million in environmental damages for a 2011 spill into the Yellowstone near Laurel, Montana.

In both cases, the broken lines had been installed just a few feet beneath the riverbed. Federal regulators have rejected a requirement for companies to bury pipelines more deeply.