Good news for Yellowstone

Oil didn’t poison ecosystem

It’s only been five weeks since an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River, but federal health officials are reporting that most toxic compounds seemed to have evaporated quickly and are not likely to affect human health, according to The Associated Press.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that samples taken downriver four days after the Exxon Mobil pipeline break July 1 were absent of dangerous components such as benzene and toluene. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality took 87 of its own soil samples and also found that, while some properties needed cleaning, most samples taken were devoid of toxic compounds.

Researchers concluded the components likely dissolved into the water to be released in smaller amounts downstream, or were evaporated by ultraviolet light. State and federal officials say that the soil, water and air in the area surrounding the spill pose no threat to human health.