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Barriers Sent In to Stem Flow of Oil at Katmai National Park

From Times Wire Services

Boats carried floating barriers Saturday toward the coast of Katmai National Park, the second national park where oil has begun to wash ashore from America’s worst spill.

Oil from the Exxon Valdez tanker accident on March 24 also spread into waters near the port of Kodiak, and state officials closed five of 54 herring fishing bays Saturday, said Larry Nicholson, regional commercial fisheries supervisor for the state Department of Fish and Game.

“We feel right now the whole island is threatened,” Nicholson said. “This stuff has surprised us. It’s gone undetected and then pops up.”

Armed Forces Offer Help

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Military officials flew to Valdez on Saturday and pledged to send ships, helicopters and other equipment for the cleanup effort. John Shannon, an assistant Army secretary, said two Navy vessels would be sent to serve as mother ships lodging cleanup workers.

Oil has been washing up at Kenai Fiords National Park for more than a week, and a National Park Service spokesman said the oil had reached shore at Katmai, about 300 miles from the spill site.

Coast Guard Commandant Paul Yost watched workers scrub grease-like oil from blackened rocks on an island in the middle of Prince William Sound, where thousands of birds and mammals have died in the muck.

He met with Exxon officials to discuss a plan he had demanded by Saturday, which was to include details of how many people and how much gear were needed to scour some of the 3,000 stained beaches.

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Yost said that he intends to have the scientific community approve the plan before he goes ahead with it and that the details may not be made public for several days.


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