I Was Sick for a Year After an Oil Spill. Five Years Later, Pipeline Accidents Are Worsening
Date Written: 10/07/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX19627
Early in the morning on July 2, 2011, I walked down the gravel road on our Montana farm to let the goats out to graze for the day. I found an oily rainbow sheen on the Yellowstone River flowing through our hay fields and pasture, plus large clumps of crude oil sticking to trees, cattails and brush. The oily water was in our sloughs, our pond and the creek that runs along the eastern edge of the farm. I checked the local news on my phone and found that an Exxon oil pipeline had ruptured underneath the Yellowstone River upstream. More than 300 people upstream from us were evacuated, but no one had thought to notify those of us further from the spill. The smell of hydrocarbons was overwhelming. In the end, more than 63,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River from what we later learned was a "guillotine cut" in Exxon's Silvertip pipeline, which lay in a trench only four to five feet under the Yellowstone River.