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Ralliers Ask Exxon to Pay Oil Spill Fine

PHOTO: There's a rally today in Billings to demand that Exxon pay the fine levied for the Yellowstone River oil spill two years ago. Photo courtesy of MT.gov.
PHOTO: There's a rally today in Billings to demand that Exxon pay the fine levied for the Yellowstone River oil spill two years ago. Photo courtesy of MT.gov.
July 1, 2013

BILLINGS, Mont. - It's been two years, so it's time for Exxon to pay up. That demand will be made at a rally today in Billings on the anniversary of the Exxon crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River. The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration levied a $1.7 million fine based on known safety issues that weren't addressed. Exxon is challenging the penalty.

Eileen Morris with the Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council is organizing the rally, where those attending will also ask the state's congressional delegation to support the fine.

"Exxon certainly deserves the fine," Morris declared. "They should be good citizens and just own up to the fact that they have it coming."

About 63,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River. The rally is at noon in Coulson Park.

Debra Bonogofsky will be at the rally, to be held at noon in Coulson Park. Her property was affected by the spill, and even though Exxon promised to make things right, her family is still waiting.

"They plowed up our grass pasture by the river, and now it's sitting there just dirt and weeds, because they tried to replant it last year, but that's when we had the drought and nothing came up, and so nothing's been done since," as Bonogofsky described the restitution effort.

There's a hearing scheduled later this month (July 17) in Washington, where the DOT and Exxon will discuss the fine.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT