Hundreds of barrels of crude oil spilled into Montana's Yellowstone River after an ExxonMobil pipeline beneath the riverbed ruptured, sending a plume 25 miles downstream and forcing temporary evacuations, officials said.
The break near Billings in south-central Montana fouled the riverbank and forced municipalities and irrigation districts Saturday to close intakes.
The river has no dams on its way to its confluence with the Missouri River just across the Montana border in North Dakota. It was unclear how far the plume might travel.
Cleanup crews deployed booms and absorbent material as the plume moved downstream at an estimated 5 to 7 mph.
So how much oil spilled?
ExxonMobil spokeswoman Pam Malek said the pipe leaked an estimated 750 to 1,000 barrels of oil for about a half-hour before it was shut down. Other Exxon officials had estimated up to 42,000 gallons of crude oil escaped.
(side note: I don't know who wrote this article, but one barrel of oil is 42 gallons, so 42,000 gallons would be 1,000 barrels!)
Another environmental disaster in the making and one that could affect some of our most pristine natural treasures.