Yellowstone oil spill cleanup will last into fall

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- An Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. executive says the cleanup of a major oil spill in the Yellowstone River has proven to be more difficult than expected and could go on for several more months.

Company vice president Geoff Craft said Thursday that areas hit hardest by the July spill should be cleaned up by the first half of October. That includes a 20-mile stretch of the Yellowstone from Laurel to Billings.

But scattered sites would need to be dealt with, including contaminated river sections downstream of Billings. Craft says work in those areas could continue until Thanksgiving.

Exxon Mobil had been ordered to complete work on the 1,000-barrel spill by Sept 9. Removing crude from hundreds of debris piles created by spring flooding has slowed the company's efforts.