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Obama: New Oil Spill Cap "Good News," but Spill is Not Over Yet

Barack Obama
CBS

President Obama today expressed cautious optimism about the multi-purpose cap that has temporarily sealed the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The new cap is good news," Mr. Obama said. He added, however, "We won't be done until we actually know that we've killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place. We're moving in that direction, but I don't want us to get too far ahead of ourselves."

The newly-installed cap is a temporary solution that should be able to stop the flow of oil, or at least capture nearly all of the flowing oil -- up to 80,000 barrels a day -- until a permanent relief well is finished. The president said government scientists and outside experts are analyzing data to determine which of the two functions the new cap will serve.

"It is our responsibilty to make sure we are taking a prudent course of action," he said. "The key right now is for us to make decisions based on science, based on what's best for people in the Gulf -- not based on PR, not based on politics."

The government has yet to start fining BP, the oil company responsible for the massive oil spill that started April 20, but Mr. Obama said today that "BP is going to be paying for the damage it is has caused." He said estimates for how much oil BP will be fined for are being "continuously refined."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Disaster in the Gulf
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