While cleanup efforts and investigations continue in the Yellowstone River oil spill in Montana, new details are emerging about another spill in the state.
A report out of Helena reveals that an oil spill in northwestern Montana went unreported for a month before a landowner alerted members of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe.
FX Drilling Co. never reported a spill, which federal regulators are now saying resulted in 420 to 840 gallons of crude spewing into a remote corner of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. The spill is just a fraction of the size of the spill that sent an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude that leaked into the Yellowstone River in early July, but the fact that FX Drilling failed to report the spill is likely to land the company in some hot water.
By law a company has 24 hours to report a spill once it reaches a waterway. EPA spokesperson Joe Vranka says FX Drilling discovered a break in the flow line between two oil wells on June 12, which resulted in the oil flowing down a ravine to the Cut Bank Creek and the Marias River. Now the EPA is looking into levying fines against the independent drilling company.
This spill is likely to add more concern to the growing attention that onshore drilling is getting in the wake of the Yellowstone River spill. Not only are new details emerging about the fragility of America’s pipeline system on a daily basis, but the Montana situation comes at a time when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering approving the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Making matters more interesting is the fact that some members of the Senate, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are trying to roll back regulations on onshore drilling, which are specifically intended to stop these sorts of mishaps.