On January 17 Bridger’s Popular Pipeline spilled Bakken crude into the Yellowstone River. Initial estimates indicate that between 300 to 1200 barrels of crude oil have been spilled with an unspecified amount flowing into the Yellowstone.
An oil slick is visible by air 25 miles from the alleged spill site. The water supply of nearby communities Glendive, Mont., have been contaminated by the spill.
Cleanup is complicated by the cold temperatures which have caused ice to form on parts of the river. This spill highlights the difficulties of cleaning up oil in rivers that have ice cover.
This is not the first time that crude oil has spilled into the Yellowstone River. In 2011 Exxon spilled 63,000 gallons of crude into the River.
The Yellowstone flows into the Missouri on its way to the Gulf of Mexico where huge quantities of oil were spilled when BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded and sank.
When combined with low oil prices and the high cost of Bakken crude, this spill may signal the end for the Popular pipeline.