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Oil collects on driftwood

Oil collects on driftwood in a flooded eddy along the Yellowstone River where it runs past Thiel Road near Laurel in 2011.

A state official says Exxon Mobil has agreed to $1.6 million in penalties to settle water pollution violations from a major oil pipeline break that fouled dozens of miles of shoreline along Montana's scenic Yellowstone River.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality director Richard Opper told The Associated Press Thursday that the penalty marks the largest in the agency's history.

Opper says the Texas oil company will pay $300,000 in cash and spend $1.3 million on future environmental projects. Exxon will reimburse more than $760,000 in emergency response costs racked up by state agencies.

Exxon is also increasing its estimate on how much crude spilled in the July 1 accident to 1,509 barrels or about 63,400 gallons. That's a 50 percent increase over earlier estimates.

 

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