By BEN LEFEBVRE
US regulators proposed a $1.7 million fine against
ExxonMobil late Monday, saying the oil company didn't do
enough to prevent a 2011 pipeline leak that resulted in oil
spilling into the Yellowstone River in Montana.
Exxon's Silvertip pipeline leaked more than 1,500 bbl of oil
near Laurel, Mont., after heavy rains and flooding eroded the
area around the 12-inch line. Oil was found along a 70-mile
stretch along the river that required more than 1,000 people to
The US Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety
Administration, the federal agency that oversees pipeline
safety, said Exxon didn't have written procedures instructing
employees how to protect the pipeline in case of natural
"ExxonMobil failed to properly address known seasonal
flooding risks to the safety of its pipeline system, including
excessive river scour and erosion, and to implement measures
that would have mitigated a spill into a waterway," PHMSA said
in its allegations against Exxon, the largest US oil and
natural gas producer.
PHMSA is also proposing Exxon be required to put in place a
training program to teach employees how to react to emergencies
at the company's pipelines.
Exxon was "disappointed in the findings of this report,"
company spokeswoman Rachael Moore said.
"We committed to learn from the incident and have since
applied the learning to our remote control valve procedures and
operator training," Ms. Moore said.
The proposed fine comes after Congress passed a law in 2012
that doubled the maximum values of fines for a related series
of pipeline violations to $2 million.
Dow Jones Newswires