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The Latest: Exxon to pay $12M for Yellowstone oil spill

Posted September 21

— The Latest on a legal settlement from damages caused by a 2011 Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline spill into Montana's Yellowstone River (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $12 million to settle damage claims over an oil pipeline break in the Yellowstone River, but it faces further potential fines for pollution violations.

A consent decree filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court resolves claims that the spill killed fish and wildlife and prevented recreational use of the river.

The accident upstream of Billings, Montana's largest city, happened during flooding on the Yellowstone in July 2011.

It spilled 63,000 gallons of crude.

A U.S. Transportation Department investigation determined Exxon workers failed to heed warnings that the 20-year-old pipeline was at risk. The agency considered but rejected new rules to make companies bury pipelines more deeply beneath waterways.

Another pipeline broke beneath the Yellowstone last year near Glendive, Montana, contaminating the city's water supply.

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10:10 a.m.

Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay $12 million for damages caused by a 2011 pipeline break that spilled 63,000 gallons (238,481 liters) of crude into Montana's Yellowstone River.

The payment settles government claims that the spill fouled an 85-mile (137-kilometer) stretch of the famous river as it flows through southern Montana toward North Dakota.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Attorney General Tim Fox and representatives of the U.S. Justice Department were scheduled to announce the deal Wednesday morning. The Associated Press obtained details in advance.

The pipeline break near Laurel killed fish and wildlife and prompted a monthslong cleanup.

A U.S. Transportation Department investigation determined Exxon workers failed to heed warnings that the 20-year-old pipeline was at risk from flooding on the Yellowstone.

The company previously spent $135 million on cleanup and repairs.

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2 a.m.

State and federal officials say they have a settlement with Exxon Mobil over environmental damage caused by an oil spill beneath Montana's Yellowstone River.

Gov. Steve Bullock and Assistant U.S. Attorney General John Cruden plan to announce terms of the settlement Wednesday.

The 2011 pipeline break upstream of Billings left oil along an 85-mile stretch of the Yellowstone, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a months-long cleanup.

The accident prompted a national debate over the adequacy of safety rules for thousands of pipelines crossing beneath rivers, lakes and other waterways.

An investigation found Exxon workers failed to heed warnings that the 20-year-old pipeline was at risk from flooding.

The company spent $135 million on cleanup and repair work.

It previously paid $2.6 million for safety violations and state pollution violations.

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