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Barge breakaway causes small Mississippi River oil spill

The Coast Guard is assessing the environmental impact of roughly 300 gallons of crude oil it says spilled into the Mississippi River after more than a dozen barges briefly broke free near Alton, Ill.

The Coast Guard says a vessel hit an area where barges are docked on the river about 1 a.m. Friday, causing 14 to break away from their moorings. Those barges then hit various facilities and another barge loading crude oil, which caused the spill of about seven barrels worth of oil.

Coast Guard spokesman Colin Fogarty says there's no evidence any oil made its way to the river banks.

The accident forced about an hour-long closure of a four-mile stretch of the river. All the runaway barges were corralled and secured.

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