Senators' measure calls for pipeline river crossings study

Associated Press

by Associated Press

A U.S. Senate committee has approved a measure that requires federal transportation officials to report on the safety of pipelines that cross beneath rivers following two major oil spills into the Yellowstone River.

Montana U.S. Senators Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Steve Daines, a Republican, co-sponsored the amendment included Thursday in a Transportation Department funding bill.

It directs the agency to report on how monitoring during floods is being used to prevent pipeline accidents at river crossings.

The riverbed of the Yellowstone can shift significantly during periods of high water, leaving pipelines that carry oil and other hazardous liquids exposed and increasing the risk of a rupture.

That’s what happened in 2011, when 63,000 gallons of crude spilled into the river near Laurel. A January spill of 30,000 gallons near Glendive remains under investigation.

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