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Better Montana Spill Plan Eyed By Exxon, Agencies

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Government agencies are working with Exxon Mobil Corp. to improve oil spill response times along Montana’s upper Yellowstone River following a major spill last year.

Officials say the goal is to give local officials the means to act within 24 hours to limit damage from spills. That could include training and having booms and other material readily available to trap spilled crude.

Exxon would pay to plan and equip the stepped-up response through a settlement with the state over pollution violations.

The company’s 12-inch Silvertip pipeline broke beneath the Yellowstone last July, releasing an estimated 63,000 gallons of oil.

Despite a costly cleanup, officials fear oil could re-emerge during high waters this spring. Samples of possible oil sheen found on the river this week near Laurel are now being tested.

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