View from Over the Oil Spill Site in the Gulf

HOS Centerline on left, and Blue Dolphin on right are the two supply ships feeding drilling fluid to the Q 4000 which is sending down mud the throat of the well, August 4, 2010. CBS/Mark Strassmann

Today's new government study of the BP spill disaster reports what seems like great news. Roughly three-quarters of the leaked oil has disappeared -- through evaporation, collection, skimming and burning.

The remaining oil still out there, mostly surface sheen and dispersed undersea drops of oil, scientists now see as much less worrisome.

So the big anxiety for many coastal residents, understandable in a leak that poured 205 million gallons into the Gulf,  that another wave of oil would spill ashore - seems much less troubling.

I flew to the spill site in the Gulf today aboard a Coast Guard helicopter.

The last forty miles were over Gulf waters, and for the first thirty miles I saw no oil. None of those long rust-colored streamers, and not even a floating patty.

Finally, I saw some sheen. And right at the spill site itself, where BP engineers are gagging the runaway well with heavy drilling fluid, there was more sheen. But it was nothing like what I remember seeing all summer, when so much of the Gulf looked like a giant oil pan.

Let's hope this new government report is right, and that the worst of the environmental threat seems over.

Just rebuilding the economic damage to Gulfcoast residents and businesses will be challenging enough.

Coast Guard Takes Deepwater Mission Personally

No New Oil, But the Disaster's Not Over

  • Mark Strassmann
    Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.