Obama: Cap is Good News But Oil Spill Cleanup, Compensation Will Take Time

BP's successful capping of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is "good news" but the cleanup of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history and compensation for out-of-work residents along the coast will continue long after the well is contained, President Obama said Friday.

Speaking to reporters before leaving for a weekend vacation in Maine, the president said testing continues to determine whether the temporary cap can stay in place and be used to permanently stop the flow of oil. If not, Obama said the cap and other devices will be used to capture most of the oil, up to 80,000 barrels a day, until a relief well is completed.

Obama said government scientists and outside experts met through the night and into Friday morning to analyze the data.

"Even if it turns out we can't maintain this cap and completely shut off the flow, what the new cap allows us to do is essentially attach many more containment mechanisms so that we are able to take more oil up the surface, put it on ships, it won't be spilling into the gulf," he said.

Obama said the relief well is seen as the permanent solution to the disastrous oil spill.

In the meantime, obviously we've still got a big job to do there's still a lot of oil out there, and that's why we've got more skimmers out there, better coordination on the ground, along the shoreline. There's still going to be an enormous clean-up job to do and there's still going to be the whole set of issues surrounding making sure people are compensated properly with the $20 billion fund that's been set up," he said.