Federal inspectors have found hundreds of oil and hazardous liquid pipelines in Montana and Wyoming with problems that could lead to another oil spill in the region, reports the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune.


Chris Hoidal of the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration told the Tribune that if the pipeline companies -- Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and CHS -- don’t fix the major problems by spring, the pipelines will be shut down. According to the article, upgrades are already underway to fix some of the problems. 

This past July, an Exxon Mobil pipeline broke and leaked 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River, costing the company $135 million. Many of the problematic pipelines, installed decades ago just a few feet underground, are now exposed or at risk of exposure because of erosion, which is partially caused by flooding. 

So far, feds have only closely inspected pipelines in Montana and northern Wyoming, but will now conduct similar reviews of pipelines throughout the West.