Montana officials ask boaters to stay away from oil spill site

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, in cooperation with the
Montana Department of Environmental Quality, is asking boaters to
stay away from the Yellowstone River between the Laurel and
Lockwood highway bridges to accommodate oil-spill cleanup
efforts.

Since an ExxonMobil pipeline carrying crude oil broke east of the
Highway 310 bridge at Laurel July 1, cleanup crews have been
working in and around the river. As flood waters gave receded this
week, the number of workers and amount of equipment has grown.
Friday, more than 40 power boats carrying hundreds of workers and
their equipment were on the river.

Boaters who are not directly employed by the cleanup effort risk
inadvertently interfering with cleanup work or spreading oil
residue.

While cleanup and monitoring efforts stretch for more than 70 miles
downstream from Laurel, the bulk of the work is centered between
Laurel and Lockwood.

The Yellowstone River was running at 37,800 cubic feet per second
— twice its normal flow — Friday morning. Floodwater debris in
the river adds to the concerns about interference with the oil
cleanup efforts.

Boaters also are reminded that certain cleanup work and safety
situations may require state agencies to close stretches of the
river at a later date.

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