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Oil spill closes part of Mississippi River

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:09 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:37 p.m. CDT

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard says it is conditionally reopening 40 miles of the Mississippi River from New Orleans upriver, but 25 miles remain closed.

Petty Officer Matthew Schofield says that means officials have to make sure there is no pollution. He didn't know if ships could immediately leave the port.

A news release Monday says about 31,500 gallons of light crude oil spilled from a tank barge that hit a towboat Saturday. The Coast Guard says nobody was hurt and there have not been any reports of oiled wildlife.

The Coast Guard says 29 vessels are waiting for the river to reopen.

The river had been closed from below the Port of New Orleans to Vacherie (VASH-uh-ree), nearly 50 miles west of New Orleans. It's now closed from Vacherie to near Hahnville, which is 30 miles from New Orleans.

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