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Date published: 1/3/2013
BILLINGS, Mont.--Delays in Exxon Mobil Corp.'s response to a major pipeline break beneath Montana's Yellowstone River made an oil spill far worse than it otherwise would have been, federal regulators said in a new report.
The July 2011 rupture fouled 70 miles of riverbank along the scenic Yellowstone River, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a massive, months-long cleanup.
The damage could have been significantly reduced if pipeline controllers had acted more quickly, according to Department of Transportation investigators.
The report, provided to The Associated Press by the office of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., marks the first time federal regulators have highlighted specific actions by Exxon as contributing to the severity of the spill.
An Exxon spokeswoman said Wednesday the company was reviewing the findings.