- The Washington Times - Friday, July 16, 2010

President Obama on Friday praised news that BP’s latest containment cap appears to be capturing all the oil spewing into the Gulf, but stressed that the only long-term solution to the disaster will come when the broken well is finally plugged.

“I think it’s important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves here,” Mr. Obama cautioned in a speech to reporters in the Rose Garden. He said videos of the broken well that show oil is no longer gushing might lead some to believe that “we’re done.”

“We’re not,” he said.

The British oil giant on Thursday announced that a new, tighter containment cap it placed on the broken well appears to be working, and there were no preliminary signs of continued leakage. But scientists are conducting pressure tests to determine whether oil might be seeping out elsewhere.

Mr. Obama assured Americans that all decisions about how to proceed will be based on science, and “not based on PR, not based on politics.”

The permanent fix won’t come until BP finishes work on at least one of two relief wells that will allow it to seal the broken well once and for all.

“We won’t be done until we actually know that we’ve killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place,” Mr. Obama said. “We’re moving in that direction but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

BP’s latest cap represents the first time in 87 days that oil has not spewed into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, killing 11 people and giving rise the the nation’s worst environmental disaster.