State, federal agency seek damages for Yellowstone oil spill
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The state of Montana and U.S. Department of Interior say they’ll seek compensation for environmental damages caused by a 30,000-gallon pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River.
Most of the oil from Bridger Pipeline Company’s 2015 spill near the North Dakota border was never recovered. The river was frozen when the break occurred.
The spill temporarily contaminated water supplies for 6,000 people.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says it’s too early to say how much money will be sought from Bridger.
Exxon Mobil recently agreed to pay $12 million in environmental damages for a 2011 spill into the Yellowstone near Laurel, Montana.
In both cases, the broken lines had been installed just a few feet beneath the riverbed. Federal regulators have rejected a requirement for companies to bury pipelines more deeply.
Former CFO of Vann’s sentenced to 14 months in prison
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The former chief financial officer of Vann’s Inc. has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud the employee-owned electronics and appliance retailer, causing it to file for bankruptcy in 2012.
The Missoulian reports (bit.ly/2dMU6C3) Paul Lyn Nisbet was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen.
Nisbet and former CEO George Leslie Manlove were charged last year with more than 200 federal counts. Prosecutors said they created shell corporations to buy property that housed Vann’s stores and caused Vann’s to make above-market lease payments to repay the loans.
A restitution hearing is set for Nov. 16.
Manlove’s trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 9. Prosecutors allege he also caused Vann’s to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
The Latest: Officer in Montana shooting had 2012 complaint
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A police officer who fatally shot a Wyoming man in a Montana hotel was put on paid leave in 2012 following an internal complaint of excessive force.
Billings Police Captain Kevin Iffland said Thursday that an investigation found the complaint against Officer David Raschkow was unfounded. Raschkow was on leave for roughly three months.
Iffland says other previous complaints against Raschkow were found to be legitimate but none involved excessive force.
He declined to provide further details on any of the complaints.
Authorities say Raschkow shot an unidentified suspect three times in the chest Thursday after 25 minutes of negotiations failed to convince the man to drop a handgun.
It was the seventh fatal shooting by law enforcement in Montana’s largest city since 2012. Five of the prior victims were determined to be high on methamphetamine. The sixth had just escaped from prison.
Study shows temperatures rising in Yellowstone Lake vents
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Scientists say the amount of heat coming from Yellowstone Lake appears to be much higher than previously thought.
The Billings Gazette reports Rob Sohn with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is leading a $5 million study of the lake. He says his team has used an underwater remote vehicle to measure “ginormous” amounts of heat flowing out of hydrothermal vents from the lake floor.
Researchers are trying to gain a better understanding of how the lake’s hydrothermal system has responded to geological events and changing climate.
The last time similar measurements were taken in Yellowstone Lake was about 40 years ago.
The lake contains the world’s largest known hydrothermal explosion crater in the world. The crater from the explosion, which occurred 14,000 years ago, measures 1 ½ miles across.
Montana official calls election rigging a conspiracy theory
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s secretary of state says election rigging is a conspiracy theory comparable to Elvis Presley faking his death or the U.S. government covering up a UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch on Wednesday sought to reassure voters that the state’s elections won’t be compromised after reports of absentee ballots stolen from mailboxes in Billings and people offering to deliver voters’ ballots.
At times, McCulloch’s comments seemed more directed as a response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statements that the elections could be rigged.
McCulloch says chatter about election rigging is irresponsible and can undermine public confidence in the system.
University of Montana political scientist Rob Saldin says there is a big difference between the election rigging Trump is suggesting and the few problems reported with Montana’s absentee ballots.
Bigfork man dies in crash near Condon
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — A 36-year-old Bigfork man died in a one-vehicle rollover crash on Montana Highway 83 near Condon.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the man’s sport utility vehicle went off the west side of the highway at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. He overcorrected, causing the vehicle to roll across the northbound lane. The driver was thrown from the SUV and came to rest in the center of the northbound lane. The SUV ended up in the ditch.
KERR-AM reports the man died at the scene. His name has not been released.
The patrol is still investigating the cause of the crash.