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A diesel pipeline in rural eastern Wyoming cracked open, spilling more than 45,000 gallons of fuel, according to state regulators and a company executive.
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Emergency Response Coordinator Joe Hunter said that the spill was discovered by the pipeline's operator on July 27 and that the cleanup is ongoing.
The fuel spilled on private ranchland near Sussex and did not spread very far.
Contaminated soil is being placed into a temporary staging area before being spread onto a nearby dirt road.
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There, the fuel is expected to largely evaporate.
Hunter said the spill was caused by a crack at a weld in the line.
According to an accident report submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center, the line is operated by Bridger Pipeline.
The pipeline was installed in 1968 by the original owner and later acquired by Bridger Pipeline.
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It was last inspected in 2019.
Bridger Pipeline initially reported just 420 gallons had spilled, but a response center database showed it later revised its estimate to 45,150 gallons.
A spokesman for the True companies subsidiary said the initial figure was based on what company personnel saw on the ground and reported immediately. The estimate increased as the site was excavated.
True companies have a history of spills and federal prosecutors alleged in May that Bridger Pipeline representatives had concealed issues with a pipeline that broke beneath the Yellowstone River in 2015.
The break spewed more than 50,000 gallons of crude into the river and fouled the city of Glendive's drinking water supply.
Attorneys for Bridger Pipeline rejected the allegations about conflicting surveys as “conspiracy theories.”
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True Companies operates 1,800 miles of line in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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