Well, it looks like BP has finally stopped the leak in the Gulf, and the White House did a fairly restrained victory dance today to celebrate the news.
Here’s Obama at a meeting of AFL-CIO leaders.
It was very welcome news when we learned overnight that efforts to stop the well through what’s called a static kill appear to be working, and that a report out today by our scientists show that the vast majority of the spilled oil has been dispersed or removed from the water. So the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end.
The White House trooped out NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and and Energy and Climate Change Czar Carol Browner to join Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for a discussion of the state of play, in a briefing that was thankfully light on breast beating and heavy on information about the operation.
Of course, the information itself made clear that there was little on which to base any credit taking the administration might have done. The stats make clear that, once oil gets away from the area of the well, at least in the Gulf, there’s not much humans can do about it.
Around 84 percent of the oil either evaporated, dissolved, dispersed naturally, was taken at the well site, or is unaccounted for – that is, it’s either still floating around somewhere or it’s getting cleaned up off beaches.
The vaunted skimming operation, which came complete with Republican wailing about the Jones Act and White House claims of an armada of cleaning boats, picked up only three percent of the oil. Another 8 percent was chemically dispersed, while about five percent was burned.
There was, it turns about, little Obama could do in terms of cleanup. His failure was that for too much of the time he was not a clear and present leader in a moment of national crisis.
And when the Obamas take a weekend in Florida this month, the likelihood of swimming into a tarball has declined significantly.