Image courtesy of FEMA.

The U.S. Department of Transportation levied a $1 million fine Friday against ExxonMobil for a 2011 Montana pipeline rupture, about $700,000 less than initially proposed.

The 20 year old Silvertip pipeline ruptured in July 2011 after seasonal flooding eroded the riverbed and damaged the line.

The spill released 63,000 gallons of crude into an 85 mile tract along the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana.

After the incident, federal regulators said ExxonMobil did not respond to the spill quickly enough and failed to heed previous warnings about the risk of a rupture.

ExxonMobil said it received the Department of Transportation’s order and is in the process of reviewing it.

The company has 20 days to ask for the penalty to be reconsidered.

ExxonMobil also agreed to pay $2 million Friday to settle damage claims filed by property owners residing near the spill site.

“We trust that Exxon and other pipeline companies will better inspect their pipelines in the future,” plaintiffs’ attorney Joey Ruggiero told the AP.

In 2013, the company agreed to pay Montana $1.6 million to settle water pollution violations tied to the spill.

ExxonMobil spent $135 million to clean up the spill and repair the pipeline.

The damaged portion of the Silvertip pipeline has been replaced with a new section that was buried dozens of feet beneath the riverbed to guard against future leaks.


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