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As a response to Exxon’s exclusion, Montana starts own response to oil spill

Montana has established its own command center for dealing with Exxon Mobil’s Yellowstone River pipeline spill after reporters and state officials said Exxon restricted them from joint command session meetings.

On July 1 an Exxon pipeline passing under the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana spilled a reported 42,000 gallons of oil into the river which is known for its world class fishing.

As with the Enbridge pipeline spill in Michigan last summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency in charge of spill response in Montana and has established a joint command center together with state officials and the company responsible for the spill.

Reuters reports that Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer ordered the establishment of an independent command center out of concern that Exxon has sought to block public oversight of activities at the joint command center.

Schweitzer urged land owners and other members of the public affected by the spill to begin documenting damage themselves by taking their own videos, collecting soil samples and pulling together necessary paperwork for making claims.

“Right now, we can’t get straight answers from Exxon engineers. Imagine what we’ll get from their lawyers,” he said.

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