NEW OIL SPILL
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Federal environmental regulators say a newly discovered oil spill in northwestern Montana went unreported for a month before a neighboring landowner complained.
Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Joe Vranka said Monday his agency is looking into possible penalties against FX Drilling Co. for the spill at its oil field on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Estimates of the spill range from 10 to 20 barrels, or 420 to 840 gallons. The crude leaked from a flow line between two oil wells and spread nearly a mile down a ravine to Cut Bank Creek.
Vranka says the company discovered the leak on June 12. He says the company didn't report the spill to either the Blackfeet tribe or the EPA.
A company official earlier said the spill happened less the two weeks ago.
A new oil spill involving hundreds of gallons of crude has been discovered in Montana 350 miles from where cleanup crews are mopping up a larger one on the Yellowstone River.
The amount spilled at the FX Drilling Co. oil field in a remote corner of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation appears to be much less than the estimated 42,000 gallons that emptied into the Yellowstone River earlier this month. But the northwestern Montana spill comes at a time when all pipeline and oil operations in the state are under scrutiny as a result of the larger Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline break.
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