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BP Well Capped, Most Oil Reported Gone

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BP and the federal government are reporting success in the latest efforts to contain the BP oil spill. This afternoon, President Obama announced that an operation called a static kill has finally stopped the BP oil spill. Meanwhile, a newly released government report contends that 75 percent of the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico by BP’s stricken well is now gone.

“The long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally coming to an end,” President Obama said this morning before a meeting of the AFL-CIO executive committee in Washington, D.C.

Starting yesterday, BP engineers spent eight hours filling a 13,000-foot well pipe in the Gulf of Mexico with heavy drill mud in an attempt to push the oil back to its source rock. BP and the government say the the column of mud ensures that oil will never be released from the well again.

The announcement came 107 days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 men and spawning the worst oil spill in US history. A containment cap placed on the well in July has been keeping the oil bottled up inside over the past three weeks, but is considered only a temporary measure. According to government estimates, 4.9 million barrels of crude escaped from the well between the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the placing of that cap.

Next, BP will pump cement through the top of the well, and it will also conduct a “bottom kill,” pumping cement through the relief wells that are 100 feet from the target, a company spokesman said today.

Meanwhile, on several morning talk shows today, the administration’s energy adviser Carol Browner said most of the oil had been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf. She stressed that a new government report showing that 75 percent of the oil has disappeared was subject to peer review and involved both government and outside experts. Browner insisted the chance of any new information causing large-scale change to the conclusions is “very, very small.”

However, government officials also stressed that much more work will need to be done to help the Gulf Coast recover from this environmental catastrophe.

“We’re not leaving the area, and more importantly, we’re not leaving behind any commitment to clean up the damage that’s been done and repair and restore the Gulf,” White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said during a press briefing today.

According to the Associated Press, Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the spill’s effect on wildlife will continue for “years and possibly decades to come” and that assessments of that damage would be ongoing as well.

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