Obama administration officials voice ‘high confidence’ Gulf spill will soon be over

By Dina Cappiello, AP
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gov’t has ‘high confidence’ oil spill almost over

WASHINGTON — No more oil is likely to leak into the Gulf of Mexico now that efforts to plug the blown-out well are succeeding, the government’s point man on the spill declared Wednesday. A relieved President Barack Obama said the fight to stop the leak is “finally close to coming to an end.”

At the White House, National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen said oil company BP’s effort to plug the leak was progressing, giving officials “high confidence” that there will soon be no more oil leaking into the environment. The upbeat assessment came as a government report released Wednesday said only about a quarter of the spilled oil remains unaccounted for, whether still in the Gulf or cleaned off of beaches or marshes. The rest has been contained, dispersed or has otherwise disappeared.

Obama’s team, however, was careful to emphasize that much work remains, from cleanup to damage assessment to help for hurting families. Obama said people’s lives “have been turned upside down” by the spill.

Government officials defended the credibility of the report that says about 75 percent of the oil is gone. They said that description is based on direct measurements of the spill and estimates, and that the instruments they’ve used to capture the scope of the disaster have improved over time.

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