Crews work to clean up oil spilled from eastern Montana pipeline, some in Yellowstone River

IndustriesAssociated Press

Crews worked Monday to clean up crude oil that spilled in and near the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana while officials with Bridger Pipeline LLC tried to determine what caused the weekend breach.

Bridger has said the break in the 12-inch steel pipe happened Saturday morning in an area about 9 miles upstream from Glendive. Bridger spokesman Bill Salvin said Monday that the company is confident that no more than 1,200 barrels — or 50,000 gallons — of oil spilled during the hour-long breach.

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"Oil has made it into the river," Salvin said. "We do not know how much at this point."

Oil has been seen in the river in spots 15 and 25 miles downstream from Glendive, Salvin said. Some of the oil is trapped under ice.

The Casper, Wyoming-based company is testing the water in Glendive for any contamination.

The Poplar Pipeline system runs from Canada to Baker, Montana, and carries crude oil from the Bakken oil producing region in Montana and North Dakota. It remained shut down Monday. It receives oil at the Poplar Station in Roosevelt County, Fisher and Richey Stations in Richland County and at Glendive in Dawson County, all in Montana.

The pipeline was last inspected in 2012, Salvin said, and is at least 8 feet below the Yellowstone River bed where it crosses the river near Glendive.

Bridger Pipeline, a subsidiary of True Cos., also owns and operates the Four Bears Pipeline System in North Dakota along with the Parshall Gathering System and the Powder River System in Wyoming, according to the company's website.