National

Oct 31, 2013 12:10 PM by Jeff Langan

Montana, feds to seek damages from oil spill

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana and federal officials say they'll seek compensation from Exxon Mobil Corp. for natural resource damages caused by a crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River.

Thursday's announcement comes two years after an Exxon pipeline near Laurel broke during flooding and released 63,000 gallons of oil. More than 70 miles of riverbank were contaminated.

The state and Department of Interior say fish, birds and other wildlife and their habitat were harmed.

Government officials will now determine how much they want Exxon to pay in compensation.

The company already paid $1.6 million in state pollution fines. Exxon faces a separate $1.7 million penalty from federal pipeline safety regulators who say the spill was worsened by Exxon's failure to quickly shut down the broken line.

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