Rising river complicates Exxon oil spill cleanup

July 5, 2011 3:01:45 AM PDT
Mountain snowmelt amid hot summer temperatures are expected to complicate efforts by ExxonMobil today to continue the initial cleanup along the oil-fouled Yellowstone River near Billings, Mont. Officials say rising waters could make it harder for Exxon Mobil Corp. to get to areas damaged by the crude spilled from a company pipeline.

The National Weather Service predicts the swelling river will peak at Billings this afternoon.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing has promised to do "whatever is necessary" to mop up oil spilled from the duct at the river bottom.

The 12-inch pipeline burst Friday upstream from a refinery in Billings

After downplaying assertions from state and federal officials that damage from the spill was spread over dozens of miles, Exxon Mobil acknowledged under political pressure that the scope of the leak could be greater.

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