Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brazilian Town Braces for Oil Spill

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brazilian Town Braces for Oil Spill

Article excerpt

BALSA NOVA, Brazil -- Parents ordered children away from the river yesterday while ranchers penned up their cattle in preparation for the arrival of a massive oil spill drifting straight toward this farming town.

A mile upstream, dozens of workers with shovels and mechanical backhoes raced to dig channels at a curve in the Iguacu River, the most important in Parana state. They hoped to divert the slick into sandpits or check it at floating barriers.

More than 1 million gallons of crude oil spewed from a burst pipeline Sunday at the Getulio Vargas refinery in Araucaria, about 435 miles southwest of Rio, in the country's worst spill in a quarter century.

Most of the oil flowed into a tributary of the Iguacu River, which runs through the state to world-famous Iguacu Falls, hundreds of miles away near Brazil's border with Argentina and Paraguay. Authorities, however, have largely discounted fears that the spill could contaminate the falls.

But residents of this corn- and cattle-raising town, 30 miles below the refinery, had other concerns. …

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