Recovery after Yellowstone oil spill in Silvertip

Originally published on, Written by Kenneth Wong

LAUREL – In the late night hours of July 1st, 2011, a pipeline in the Yellowstone River ruptured, which started an oil spill that lasted for months, and by July 2nd, more than 40,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Yellowstone River, near Laurel.

While Bob Landon lives in Billings, he has fished in Laurel for decades.

“Ever since I was a kid,” said Bob. “It’s a good after-work float. You can do it after work, still get out and be home by dark.”

When Bob heard about the spill, he said he was angry at first. “Nobody wants oil in their river; it’s no good for anything.”

Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy said he can’t forget the first time he saw the Yellowstone oil spill. “When I went down to the river in the morning, the first thing that overtook you at 6:00 a.m. was the smell.”

At the peak of the cleanup efforts, more than 1,000 people worked along the Yellowstone Riverbank to clean up the spilled oil. One year after the spill, Commissioner Kennedy said he is impressed with the cleanup efforts from ExxonMobil and local authorities.

“Getting everybody together, the government and the pipeline folks, to address the issue. I think it went very smooth.”

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