Oil Spill Panel Makes Recommendations to Montana Governor

A council appointed to come up with pipeline safety improvements in Montana following last year’s Yellowstone River crude spill has offered its recommendations to the governor’s office.

The Montana Oil Pipeline Safety Review Council called for pipeline technology upgrades by companies and more money for government inspectors, among other recommendations.

But the recommendations are non-binding, and most fall outside state jurisdiction.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer formed the review council in the wake of a 1,500-barrel crude oil spill last July from an Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline near Laurel.

An estimated 70 miles of the Yellowstone’s riverbank were contaminated.

Montana has 6,700 miles of natural gas transmission, oil and other hazardous liquid pipelines. The state averages about six or seven serious accidents on those lines annually.