US says delay worsened oil spill

2013-01-02 22:27
Environmental activists have slammed new offshore drilling rules meant to prevent a similar incident to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy from occurring. (Eric Gay, AP)

Environmental activists have slammed new offshore drilling rules meant to prevent a similar incident to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy from occurring. (Eric Gay, AP)

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Billings - Federal investigators say 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.

Department of Transportation investigators say the volume of the 1 500-barrel spill could have been cut by about two-thirds if pipeline controllers in Houston closed off the line as soon as problems emerged.

Instead, crude drained from a severed, 300mm pipeline for another 46 minutes before a remote control valve near the river was finally closed.

A copy of the investigators' report was provided to The Associated Press by the office of Montana US Senator Max Baucus.

The 1 July 2011, spill fouled 112km of riverbank along the scenic Yellowstone. Exxon spent $135m on cleanup and repair work.

An Exxon spokesperson declined comment Wednesday, saying the company was still analysing the report.

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  environment
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