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Improving Public Access to the Yellowstone River in Montana

May 31, 2018View for printing

Yesterday, I announced the approval of the Yellowstone River Recreation Plan ... b324.html#1 which allocates $2.3 million of settlement funds from the 2011 ExxonMobile Pipeline spill to restore recreation services and resources lost due to the oil spill.

Seven years ago, ExxonMobile Pipeline Company's pipeline broke in the Yellowstone River. As a result, the pipeline discharged 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the river.

As part of the $12 million natural resource damage settlement, $2.3 million was set aside to compensate the public for loss of access to the river and recreation during the spill and cleanup.

Montana's Yellowstone River is one of the last, great free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states. It's a hardworking river: it provides the water that our crops and towns need. It sustains a fishery. It's a vital headwaters for the Mississippi basin.

It's also where Montanans flock to experience some of Montana's greatest outdoor recreation opportunities. Whether it's casting a line or enjoying a picnic with your family on the banks, this very river shapes and defines outdoor recreation experiences for so many across our state.

This Plan marks yet another step in the process to return the Yellowstone River and its surrounding ecosystem to the majestic state it was prior to the oil spill. We'll be moving dirt soon and putting these dollars to work for Montanans. And we'll make sure folks who live in this area and visitors alike have access to the lands they deserve.

The Yellowstone River plays a major role in Montana's $7 billion outdoor recreation economy. These projects will improve public access to the river, and improve city parks and public lands that are part of Montanans' way of life.

This is a great accomplishment and a moment of celebration for the Yellowstone River and the people of Montana.


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