Yellowstone River Oil Spills Reshape Oil Pipeline Safety
Two Yellowstone River oil spills have reshaped federal oversight of oil pipeline safety. President Barack Obama signed The PIPES Act into law on Wednesday. It will set policy and sets pipeline law and safety measures, in addition to reauthorizing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The law addresses two of Montana’s worst oil spills: the 2015, oil spill into the Yellowstone River, and the 2011 Silvertip Pipeline spill into the Yellowstone near Laurel. Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester supported the PIPES Act in the Senate. For the first time, pipeline companies will be required to have plans in place for dealing with oil disasters trapped beneath the ice.
In January 2015, a Bridger Pipeline rupture beneath the frozen Yellowstone River dumped over 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude into the river. The cancer-causing chemical benzene was released from the spill, contaminating the Glendive water supply.