‘We regret the release’

“But since we know that no one will ever hold us truly accountable and the federal government will absorb all the cleanup costs, it’s all good!”

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. : ExxonMobil will direct the cleanup efforts of the oil spill, said Duane Winslow, Yellowstone County director of disaster and emergency services.

“Exxon really is going to be the incident command,” Winslow said. All other agencies like state Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Environmental Protection Agency, will all monitor Exxon’s effort.

Officials in downstream communities have been notified of the oil spill, Winslow said.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: An ExxonMobil oil pipeline just east of the Laurel Bridge ruptured around 11:30 p.m. Friday, dumping oil into the Yellowstone River.

In a press conference Saturday morning, Yellowstone County and ExxonMobil officials said they don’t know yet what caused the break in the 12-inch pipeline or how much oil escaped into the river.

The pipeline runs below the Yellowstone riverbed. Emergency crews shut the pipeline down just before midnight, said Duane Winslow, Yellowstone County director of disaster and emergency services.

“Throughout the night, we’ve worked to determine what happened,” he said.

The oil slick started in Laurel and, with the speed of the river, had moved to Custer by about 9 a.m. A light sheen of petroleum can been seen along banks and in eddies all down the river between the two points.

“We regret the release,” said Pam Malek, a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil.

You don’t suppose it will turn out that Exxon cut maintenance on the pipeline to save money, do you? I mean, because that never happens. Why, it wouldn’t be in their self-interest, as the deregulation cheerleaders remind us!