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DRILL: News conference announced on Yellowstone River spill incident

*******THIS IS A DRILL*************

What: Media are invited to attend an update on the response to the Yellowstone River Crude Spill incident.

Who: Leaders of Unified Command managing the response to the spill, including:
• Duc Nguyen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• John Rasmann, Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
• Sean Biggins, Billings City Fire Department
• Ray Rigdon, Phillips 66 Refinery Manager
• Mark Wade, Phillips 66 Public Information Officer
• Don Susanen, Phillips 66 Operation Manager

Guests will include:

• Mayor Bill Cole
• U.S. Senator John Tester
• U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte

When: 3 p.m. MDT

Where: DoubleTree Hotel
27 North 27th Street
Billings, Montana
Second Floor, Skybridge Room 4

The public and media can find the latest response information at or call the Media / Community Line at 832 765 0246.

News release on the Yellowstone River spill incident

The following is a status update on the Yellowstone River Spill incident from the Unified Command, which includes Phillips 66, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Billings Emergency Operations Center, Billings Fire Department, Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Current response status:

As of 12 p.m. MDT on August 20, 2019, a tank failure resulted in a release of 137,000 barrels of crude oil. It has been confirmed 10,000 barrels entered the Yellowstone River. There are 150 responders on site and 1,800 feet of boom has been deployed in the Yellowstone River as of 7 p.m. Tuesday night. A significant amount of released crude oil has already been recovered. Fifty vacuum trucks are now collecting oil from the river to be returned to the Refinery for safe processing.

Air monitoring continues by Phillips 66 at the refinery and by third-party services limited to the affected area near the damaged storage tank. All monitoring continues to indicate an improvement in air quality. Monitoring will continue to protect the community.

Montana Women’s Prison, Grains of Montana Bakery, and the main Post Office Building at 841 South 22nd street have been notified that their essential personnel may return to work. Employees should contact their employers for further direction.

Interstate 90 is now open. The public is requested to refrain from entering areas near the refinery and affected waterways so as not to impede response efforts.

Phillips 66 is partnering with Wildlife Trustees regarding the incident and wildlife specialists have been deployed to evaluate and respond to the situation.

More information is available at A news briefing will be held by Unified Command at Double Tree Hotel, Billings, MT later today at 3 p.m. MDT.

The following priorities are continuing to guide this response:

• Safety of public and response personnel
• Spill containment to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

The public and media can find the latest response information at or call the Media / Community Line at 832-765-0246.

Interstate 90 Re-Opened

Interstate 90 has been reopened.

The following organizations have been informed that their essential employees can return to work:

  • Montana Women’s Prison
  • Grains of Montana Bakery
  • US Post Office located at 841 South 22nd St.

Personnel are encouraged to communicate with their employers regarding a return to work.

Update on affected wildlife

If you encounter wildlife that has been impacted by the recent Yellowstone river spill there are things that you can do to protect both yourself and the animals that you observe.

Do not attempt to chase and/or catch the animals; oiled animals are already stressed and this would only add to the stress they are already under. Oiled animals can harm you and themselves while struggling to escape. For this reason, only trained, authorized wildlife professionals should attempt capture.

We are asking that you call the wildlife hotline number that has been established for this incident. The number is 855-794-9422. Please be prepared to provide the following information:

(1) Number and species (if known) of animals impacted;
(2) Date and time that the animals were seen;
(3) Specific location of the animals and directions to the site;
(4) How are the animals acting? Are they feeding? Can they fly? What is the degree of oiling (heavy to light)?

We have professional oiled wildlife response personnel in the field to retrieve the affected wildlife.

Livestock owners and domestic animal owners in close proximity to the incident and down-river, please be advised that animals grazing and near the Yellowstone River are at risk of coming in contact with oil. We are recommending that you restrict access to the river by your livestock or domestic animals.

If you have any questions or concerns, or to report impacted livestock or domestic animals please call the wildlife hotline number at 855-794-9422.

****DRILL**** Updated statement on Billings incident

UPDATED 2:42 p.m. MDT

Emergency response personnel continue to respond to the Billings spill incident.

There is only one evacuation at this time. As a precaution, the main post office building at 841 S. 26th Street has been evacuated.

To further ensure safety, two local businesses, Montana Women’s Prison at 701 S. 27th Street and Grains of Montana Bakery at 802 S. 26th Street have been notified to shelter in place for the time being.

Our primary concern remains the safety of our employees and the local community surrounding the facility. Safety crews will continue air monitoring of the area. We will continue to provide updates as the situation progresses.

***DRILL*** Initial public statement on the incident in Billings, MT

At approximately 12 p.m. on August 20, 2019, a loss of containment occurred from a crude oil tank located at the Phillips 66 Billings Refinery.

Our primary concern is the safety of our employees and the local community surrounding the facility.

All employees and contractors on site have been accounted for, no injuries have been reported.

Accordingly, we immediately mobilized trained emergency response personnel and are working with local public safety officials to address the situation. We have also mobilized resources to evaluate potential impacts on the local environment and have resources available for a prompt response if necessary.

At this time we do not have an estimate of how long that will take or the full impacts of the event but again our primary concern is the safety of our employees and the local community.