Montana Landowners Sue Exxon

Yellowstone River spill could have been avoided

Caty Enders

Montana landowners are suing Exxon Mobil for a July 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River that caused health, livestock, and property damage. Officials in the town of Laurel, where the rupture occurred, had repeatedly warned that the pipeline was a hazard. “They should have known long before this happened that this river floods every spring and produces massive erosive forces,” said an attorney for the 14 plaintiffs. Exxon spent around $135 million in subsequent upgrades to the pipelines and on cleanup of the spill, which contaminated an estimated 70 miles of the Yellowstone riverbank. The spill caused greater property damage than all other accidents in the state over the last decade combined.