Crews Try To Protect Wildlife From Texas Oil Spill

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — A Texas official says crews are working to protect two sensitive wildlife areas after a crude oil spill shut down parts of a major southeast Texas port.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says plastic walls known as booms and oil-sucking skimmer boats are being used to safeguard a lake that is a crucial breeding ground and a wildlife management area that lost its protective gates when Hurricane Ike roared ashore a year and a half ago.

The U.S. Coast Guard says about 462,000 gallons — or 11,000 barrels — of oil spilled into the water Saturday when an 800-foot tanker collided with a towing vessel pushing two barges near Port Arthur, about 90 miles east of Houston. It was the largest spill in Texas since 1994.

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