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Fresh spill at Exxon Valdez site creates three-mile-long oil slick

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A tugboat struck the same reef as the Exxon Valdez tanker 20 years ago, spilling diesel into Alaska’s Prince William Sound and creating a three-mile-long slick, the US Coast Guard said on Friday.

An unknown quantity of the fuel leaked from the Pathfinder tug after it ran aground Wednesday on Bligh Reef. The boat’s owners were pumping the remaining diesel from the original 33,500 gallons (127,000 liters) in its tanks.

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Flyovers by a C-130 cargo plane and helicopters revealed “a light grey or silver diesel sheen spanning an area approximately three miles (five kilometers) long and 30 yards (meters) wide approximately one mile east of Glacier Island,” the Coast Guard said on its website.

The tug had been scouting shipping lanes for ice when it struck the same rock that did for the Exxon Valdez on March 24, 1989, spilling 11 million gallons of crude into the sea in the worst US oil disaster.

Wednesday’s accident was nothing like on the same scale and the Coast Guard said the slick was “rapidly dissipating” and not expected to hit the shoreline of Glacier Island for some time.

Experts surrounded the boat with containment booms to prevent the slick from spreading, while a recovery vessel, the Valdez Star, was using oil skimmers to try and recover spilled fuel.

“There’s no recoverable sheen,” Jim Butler, a spokesman for Crowley Maritime Service which owns the tug, told the Anchorage Daily News (ADN).

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When the remaining fuel is removed, officials will be able to estimate how much spilled into the sound, the Coast Guard said.

Butler said it was not clear how the tug ran aground, ADN reported, but a navigational error at such a well-known spot left some people dumbstruck.

“Like most Alaskans, we at the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council are baffled as to how the Pathfinder managed to hit perhaps the most famous navigational hazard in the world — Bligh Reef — in conditions of relatively mild weather,” council president Steve Lewis wrote in a blog posting.

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The accident raises questions “about how well the painful lessons of the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 have been learned by today’s mariners,” he said.

The Coast Guard said tests administered to the Pathfinder crew late Wednesday found no alcohol, ADN reported.

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The captain of the Exxon Valdez, Joe Hazelwood, had been drinking on board the tanker before the 1989 wreck.


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2020 Election

Trump can’t attack Kamala Harris without contradicting his own message: Bakari Sellers

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers broke down why Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) poses such a challenge for President Donald Trump.

"What we're seeing with the two parties is the narrow focus is going to be on the fact that Donald Trump and the Trump campaign have no way, and they do not know how to deal, with Kamala Harris," said Sellers. "It very difficult to say 'Kamala is a cop' and be a 'law and order president.' Those two things simply do not mesh. Not only ahistorical and inaccurate, but the messages, they collide."

"But second, it shows that the Republican Party and Democratic Party are going in two vastly different directions," continued Sellers. "The country is becoming more diverse, the country is becoming more brown. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent the demographics of what the country will be, and Donald Trump and Steven Miller and Mike Pence represent a day that's passed. So what I would say tonight is while Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to cheer on the Confederacy, we're trying to re-imagine what this country will look like. It goes back to a time where Americans can feel good about being first and about thinking about what our country can be: full of hope and faith."

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2020 Election

WATCH: Tucker Carlson flips out after guest teaches him how to pronounce ‘Kamala Harris’

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Fox News personality Tucker Carlson repeated mispronounced the first name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is Joe Biden's running mate.

"On Fox, Tucker Carlson keeps calling her KAM-uh-luh, which is not how it's pronounced," Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel noted.

He linked to a tweet with a picture of Harris explaining in her memoir how to pronounce her name.

Harris wrote, "my name is pronounced 'comma-la' like the punctuation mark. It means 'lotus flower,' which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom."

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Bishop falsely claims Joe Biden is not a Catholic — and it doesn’t go well for him

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On Tuesday, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island attacked former Vice President Joe Biden's faith, claiming that he is not really a Catholic.

Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) August 11, 2020

Biden is a lifelong, practicing Catholic, and he was also on the 2012 ticket, so Tobin's claim doesn't make any sense. But Tobin is an extreme right-wing firebrand with a history of politicizing the church — in 2007 he denied communion to former Rep. Patrick Kennedy for his pro-choice views, and in 2019 he called Gay Pride events "harmful for children" and demanded Catholics not attend them.

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