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U.S.: Reported Gulf slick may be silt

March 20, 2011 at 4:59 PM

NEW ORLEANS, March 20 (UPI) -- A feared new oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico probably is a plume of silt from dredging on the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.

Spokesman Henry Cambre told the Wall Street Journal the Coast Guard is testing the substance, which gives off a rainbow sheen resembling an oil spill. Test results were expected late Sunday.

On Saturday, Paul Barnard of the Coast Guard's New Orleans sector told The New Orleans Times-Picayune two calls came in about a suspected oil slick about 20 miles north of the site of last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Officers confirmed the existence of a substance near the surface, but the investigation was cut short when their helicopter was diverted to a separate search and rescue mission. The Coast Guard later sent aircraft and boats from Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans to the scene.

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