A Wyoming-based pipeline owner has agreed to a $2 million settlement with the U.S. and Montana government over a 2015 oil spill into the Yellowstone River near Glendive, acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said Wednesday.
According to the agreement, Bridger Pipeline will pay $1.7 million into a natural resources damages fund managed by the state, which will manage restoration projects aimed at repairing harm done to wildlife, water and the environment related to the spill, Johnson said in a news release.
The remaining $260,205 will be placed in a U.S. Department of Interior fund aimed at recovering costs of damage to natural resources.
On Jan. 17, 2015, the Poplar Pipeline, owned by Bridger Pipeline, spilled about 31,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil into the Yellowstone River, just over six miles upstream of Glendive.
The river was covered in ice, but oil sheens were spotted on ice-free patches of the river as far away as Crane, around 35 miles away.
Johnson said in a statement that the settlement holds Bridger Pipeline accountable for the spill and provides money to restore damage caused to Yellowstone River's "waters, fisheries, birds and riparian habitat, ecosystems and related human activities."
“This agreement also provides for a restoration plan, which could include a variety of projects to restore aquatic habitat and improve or restore recreational sites along the river corridor. As the longest, free-flowing river in the Lower 48 states, the Yellowstone River is prized not only for its diverse ecosystems, fisheries and recreational opportunities, but also as a vital economic resource for local communities and the state. Protecting the environment is a high priority of the Department of Justice, and we will work with industry and our state and federal partners to ensure that happens," Johnson said.