NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The cap over a blown-out oil well is capturing more and more of the crude pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, but that bit of hope was tempered Sunday by a sharp dose of pragmatism as the federal government's point man warned the crisis could stretch into the fall.
The inverted funnel-like cap is being closely watched for whether it can make a serious dent in the flow of new oil. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, overseeing the government's response to the spill, reserved judgment, saying he didn't want to risk offering false encouragement.
Instead, he warned on CBS'"Face the Nation" that the battle to contain the oil is likely to stretch into the fall. The cap will trap only so much of the oil, and relief wells being drilled won't be completed until August. In the meantime, oil will continue to spew out.
"But even after that, there will be oil out there for months to come," Allen said.
Kelcey Forrestier, 23, of New Orleans, said she no longer trusts the word of either BP or the U.S. government in laying out the extent of the spill. But it is clear to Forrestier, just coming in off the water at Okaloosa Island, Fla., that the spill and its damage will last long into the future.
"Oil just doesn't go away. Oil doesn't disappear," said Forrestier, who just earned a biology degree. "It has to go somewhere and it's going to come to the Gulf beaches."