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$1.6M Exxon-Montana oil spill settlement finalized

Montana officials have finalized a $1.6 million settlement with Exxon Mobil over an oil pipeline break that spilled 1,500 barrels of crude into the scenic Yellowstone River.

The agreement between the Texas-based company and the state Department of Environmental Quality resolves water pollution violations from oil that spread along 70 miles of the river downstream of Laurel.

Exxon remains on the hook for damages to wildlife and the loss of public access to the river during a five-month cleanup. A joint federal-state investigation to tally those damages is expected to last several more months.

A final determination of what caused the line to break remains pending. The Yellowstone was flooding when the July spill occurred. The pipeline had been installed only a few feet beneath the riverbed.

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