Baucus Demands Records, Continues Call for Transparency in Yellowstone Oil Spill Cleanup
Senator Calls on Pipeline Safety Administration to Provide all Relevant Information on Ruptured Pipe
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus followed up yesterday's inquiry to ExxonMobil today asking the Pipeline Safety Administration to provide all relevant information on the history of the pipeline that ruptured in Montana's Yellowstone River over the weekend. Baucus is also asking both ExxonMobil and the Pipeline Administration to provide details on cleanup efforts in order to ensure maximum accountability, transparency and effectiveness in restoring the river.
"Not only do Montanans have a right to know what's going on, they need the best information to effectively restore the Yellowstone and the jobs that depend on it. And there's nothing like the disinfectant of sunshine to force action and accountability. I'll keep pressing Exxon, federal agencies and anyone else it takes to get Montanans the best, most complete and accurate information to restore the Yellowstone River and make sure something like this never happens again," Baucus said.
Baucus sent a similar inquiry to ExxonMobil, who owns the ruptured pipe, yesterday and directed the company to develop a quick and effective claims process to ensure Montanans impacted by the Yellowstone River oil spill have swift recourse for repayment.
Baucus sent the letter below to today to Cynthia Quarterman, Administrator of the Department of Transportation's Pipeline Safety Administration.
July 6, 2011
Cynthia L. Quarterman
Administrator, Pipeline Safety Admin.
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave SE Fl. 2
Washington, District of Columbia 20590-0001
Dear Administrator Quarterman:
I am writing to request that documents and information be provided to my office regarding the ruptured ExxonMobil oil pipeline near Billings, Montana that spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River and resulted in the evacuation of 140 people. The Yellowstone River is a state and national treasure and is essential to the economy and quality of life of southern Montana. Our response, investigation, and plans to revitalize the Yellowstone must be conducted with the utmost diligence and with the greatest information possible.
The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is trusted with the vital responsibility of implementing our national regulatory program for pipelines. The trust the American people have placed in PHMSA necessitates the responsibility of the agency to conduct its business in an open and transparent manner, and to allow access to the greatest amount of information possible. I call on PHMSA to provide my office with all documents relevant to the oil spill. The documents should include, but not be limited to:
To the extent possible and without causing significant delay, please provide a summary or table of contents of the documents being provided, group related documents, and sort the documents in chronological order where appropriate.
I also request that the following information be provided to my office:
We have already seen the benefits of transparency concerning this oil spill when federal documents showed that it took nearly twice as long to seal the pipeline as Exxon initially suggested. I consider it the responsibility of PHMSA to continue to provide information and greater clarity to the situation in order to aid in the response. Thank you in advance for your speedy reply.
Contact: Kate Downen 406-224-5056/Jenny Donohue (202)224-4515/Kathy Weber 406-657-5915
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