Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer told reporters today that he’s cutting ties with the Exxon Mobil and federal government’s joint response to the Yellowstone River oil spill. Governor Schweitzer tells the AP he’s setting up his own command. From the Grand Forks Herald:
Exxon Mobil security workers have closely guarded access to the command post on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Billings, where the EPA and other federal agencies also are stationed. Attempts by The Associated Press to talk to government officials there have been denied.
“The state will no longer have a presence at the Crowne Plaza because Exxon Mobil tells us they can’t respect the open government laws we have in Montana,” Schweitzer told The Associated Press. “I can’t allow state employees to be in meetings at the Crowne Plaza talking about this cleanup without having it open.”
Exxon Mobil’s pipeline burst a week, spilling an estimated thousand barrels into the Yellowstone. On his official website today, Governor Schweitzer posted a letter (pdf) to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipeline division requesting all records about that particular pipeline since 2006 and all records of any complaints or violations connected to any pipelines anywhere in Montana.