Exxon gets go ahead for replacement pipe

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has issued a temporary construction permit to ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., allowing them to begin construction on its replacement pipe under the Yellowstone River. The company’s Silvertip pipeline ruptured on 1 July 2011, dumping an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone. The pipeline had been buried 5 to 8ft below the riverbed. While a date to begin construction has not yet been set, it is expected to commence shortly. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation had been conducting an environmental assessment and collecting public opinion throughout the first half of August on Exxon’s permit request. With the construction permit in place, Exxon must now apply to the DNRC for an easement on the pipeline. DNRC will then forward its recommendation to the Montana Board of Land Commissioners for final action. Exxon intends to replace close to 1600ft of pipeline in order to restore oil flows to its Billings refinery. The company will bury the new pipeline 42ft under the riverbed using horizontal directional drilling.

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