FILE – This July 2, 2011 file photo shows oil from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline on the Yellowstone River and along its banks near Laurel, Mont. A federal investigation says Exxon Mobil’s delayed response to a pipeline break beneath Montana’s Yellowstone River made the spill far worse than it otherwise would have been. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Delays in Exxon Mobil Corp.’s response to a major pipeline break beneath Montana’s Yellowstone River made an oil spill far worse than it otherwise would have been, federal regulators said in a new report.
The July 2011 rupture fouled 70 miles of riverbank along the scenic Yellowstone, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a massive, months-long cleanup.
The damage could have been significantly reduced if pipeline controllers had acted more quickly, according to Department of Transportation investigators.
The report, provided to The Associated Press by the office of Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, marks the first time federal regulators have highlighted specific actions by Exxon as contributing to the severity of the spill.