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Published:July 9th, 2011 14:59 EST
Yellowstone River Oil Spill Leaves Questions Unanswered for Exxon Mobil

Yellowstone River Oil Spill Leaves Questions Unanswered for Exxon Mobil

By Ron G Anselm

Fade to Black, first came The Exxon Valdez on the 24th of March, 1989, then next came the BP Oil spill in the Gulf that polluted hundreds of thousands of square miles of Open Ocean and wheeled many local fishermen into bankruptcy and heading for the soup line at the local homeless shelter. This oil spill polluted many miles of white sandy beaches that were once the main tourist attraction in the Deep South while the oil spread like a wildfire killing lots of wildlife and fish in its path.

After the BP disaster, it was thought that the large oil companies would take a hard look at safety though the inspections of their oil pipes and refineries to guarantee that another disaster would not happen. But once again, we are facing yet another ecological disaster because of America`s never ending thirst for oil.

Over the weekend, like a black liquid apocalypse oil burst through a 12-inch pipeline belonging to Exxon Mobil at the bottom of the Yellowstone River spewing tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River like a geyser gushing in Yellowstone National Park.

Exxon Mobil Company Pipeline Company`s President Gary Pruessing commented by saying that the company is doing everything they can to find the part of the pipe at the bottom of the Yellowstone River to fix it and they are doing all they can to clean up the spilled oil that now highlights the banks up and down the river.

I would think that with the BP oil disaster that we watched on the news for many weeks last year that these large oil companies would start sort of a QA or Quality Assurance program to start rigorous inspections on their pipeline and equipment and to assure the public that their pipeline and equipment are safe and free from creating any future disasters. I think it is more about those companies saving money and not having to spend for the man hours it would take to at least start a program like this. It seems it is always about money and not about preserving the natural beauty of our lakes and waterways, let alone saving any wildlife that becomes victims when an oil spill disaster happens. These large oil companies obviously have the money to do this (look at the rising and up and down fuel prices) they are the only ones making money in this economy.

The EPA or Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that air and water samples are currently being taken since some people were complaining that they were sickened by oil fumes and some of those people had to be taken to the local hospital as a result. No results of the air and water samples have been released yet to the public.

Exxon Mobil did manage to stop the flow of oil in the pipeline but not before 1000 barrels or 42,000 gallons spilled in at the bottom of the river. The pipeline is about twenty years old and has been supplying one of Exxon Mobil`s refineries in Billings, Montana.

Back in May the pipeline was temporarily shut down when Laurel officials raised concern that sine the Yellowstone River is rising the pipeline could pose to be at risk. Also some safety officials raised more concerns as they pointed out some safety violations found in the pipeline twice in the last year.

Exxon Mobil decided to restart the line after they determined it was safe to do so. Other citing`s and violations included two that were issued to Exxon Mobil by the Department of Transportation who overseas oil company pipelines. Two of those same violations were for insufficient emergency response and pipeline training. Exxon Mobil`s spokesperson, Patricia Klinger stated that the company has since responded to those warnings and citing`s and the case is now closed.

Other spills by other oil companies have prompted more concern from people for the Government to impose stiffer and stringent penalties to the oil companies who fail to do their job and take care of inspecting their pipelines and equipment to ensure these disastrous oil spills do not continue to happen.

Other recent spills and disaster by larger oil companies include the recent natural Pacific Gas and Electric Company gas line explosion that happened in San Bruno, California. The explosion killed eight people and an Enbridge Energy pipeline in July 2010 spilled 900,000 gallons of crude oil into Michigan`s Kalamazoo River.

Something definitely does need to happen to alleviate these major problems. If these oil companies are not going to take care of their own responsibilities to ensure safety of their pipelines and equipment then Uncle Sam has to step up and take the lead in this ongoing and growing problem.