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   GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Officials are lifting all remaining restrictions on traffic though the Houston Ship Channel, five days after an oil spill shut down one of the nation's busiest seaports.
   The U.S. Coast Guard announced the reopening late Thursday. The channel links the area's busy ports with the largest petrochemical complex in the country.
   The channel was closed Saturday, after nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the waterway south of Houston when a ship punctured an oil barge. At its height, the closure stranded some 100 vessels.
   Officials erected inflatable booms but oil drifted into the Gulf of Mexico. On Thursday, officials said oil had washed onto 12 miles of beach at Matagorda Island, 100 miles southwest of Galveston, but it hadn't reached an environmentally delicate bay nearby.
Published in National News

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP's 86-day struggle to stop the flow of oil gushing from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico will be the focus of a trial scheduled to resume Monday in federal court.

BP insists it was prepared to respond to the deadly disaster, but plaintiffs' attorneys will argue that the company could have capped the well much sooner if it hadn't ignored decades of warnings about the risks of a deep-water blowout.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has set aside 16 days for the second phase of the trial, which also will feature experts' dueling testimony about the amount of oil that spilled into the Gulf.

The trial's first phase ended in April after the judge heard eight weeks of testimony about the causes of the blowout.

Published in National News

The Mississippi River is closed near St. Louis again.  This time, the problem is several barges that broke loose and collided with some docked barges.  

The Coast Guard says it happened around midnight near the confluence with the Missouri River.

 Early reports indicate that the accident may have caused a significant oil spill in the river.

 
Published in Local News

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