River has history of pipeline breaches

Reader’s Viewpoint
Thursday, March 24, 2022

It was after midnight, my husband and I were sound asleep in our shared bed of 30 years, when the doorbell began ringing incessantly and someone began pounding on the front door. When we got to the door there were red and blue lights flashing in our driveway. Once we switched on the porch light we were relieved to some extent to see uniformed law officers standing there. They said we were to evacuate immediately as a pipeline under the Yellowstone River had ruptured. They said time was of the essence but if we had pets and could locate them quickly we should take them with us. They frightened us with the urgency of their evacuation orders but we complied immediately.

That was 2011. As you may recall, the refinery had a major pipeline breach under the river, doing tremendous damage for miles.

In 2009 law enforcement had come in marked cars during daylight hours to tell us to evacuate immediately as a natural gas pipeline under the Yellowstone River had ruptured. Being law abiding citizens, we left immediately. When we drove away from our home and over the bridge above the mighty Yellowstone, just to the east we saw an ongoing eruption into the air like Old Faithful, but with natural gas.

We have lived off Theil Road for21 years and experienced two pipeline ruptures requiring residents to evacuate. Both of these were within ½ mile of the proposed pipeline you are considering. History is telling us that this is not a safe location for any pipelines. Adding this methane pipeline puts us at greater risk for more evacuations or worse.

Commissioners, please do not prioritize increasing your tax base over the wellbeing of citizens in the area. Please deny Northwestern’s floodplain permit.

Carol Blades

Laurel

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