Max Baucus called on ExxonMobil today to pledge the company will not lay off any workers due to the Silvertip Pipeline rupture that caused oil to leak into Montana’s Yellowstone River.  The ruptured pipeline had previously carried 40,000 barrels a day to Exxon’s 60,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Billings, and Baucus says Exxon is responsible to ensure the refinery’s workers do not suffer because the plant is now forced to operate at limited capacity.

Baucus says “ it would be unacceptable to add any more economic insult to environmental injury by denying Montana workers the paychecks they rely on to pay the bills and feed their families”

The Billings refinery is currently in discussions about increasing deliveries from the Glacier Pipeline and has expedited a program to deliver oil by truck.

The letter Baucus sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson follows below.

Dear Mr. Tillerson:

As ExxonMobil continues to work with federal and state agencies to clean-up the July 1st oil spill from the Silvertip Pipeline, I write to express my related concern about continued operations at the refinery in Billings.

Given that the Silvertip Pipeline delivered the majority of crude oil to the refinery, I am concerned that until the pipeline is repaired, the refinery will be unable to procure the minimal amount of crude necessary for continued operations. I understand that the refinery is in discussions to increase deliveries from the Glacier Pipeline and has expedited a program to truck in oil.

While those efforts are underway, I urge ExxonMobil to commit to not lay off refinery employees or place employees on furlough as a result of the delivery constraint. It would be unacceptable for the pipeline rupture to add additional economic insult to environmental injury.

ExxonMobil is an important member of the Lockwood and Billings communities. Its firm commitment to the workers at the refinery is critical in this difficult time. I look forward to your timely response.


Senator Max Baucus

Story by: Jennifer Donohue•D.C. Press Secretary