Cleanup continues in Mississippi River oil spill

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Of an estimated 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel and oil that spilled from a towboat that sank last week in the Mississippi River off Le Claire, Iowa, at least 85 percent has been removed.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty also told the AP that the backlog of boats that had built up since the Stephen L. Colby began taking on water Nov. 25 had cleared.

The Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were still trying to determine what caused the accident and how much of the towboat’s 100,000-gallon load had spilled into the river.

Fogarty said that 85 percent to 90 percent had been contained and removed by absorbent booms. More than 3,000 feet of booms were deployed, he said.

“We have slowed the rate a little bit,” he said of the fuel still leaking into the water, noting that some damage to the vessel had been fixed.

There were no reports of the leak’s effects on fish and wildlife, but Fogarty said officials were monitoring a few hundred diving ducks north of the accident site.

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