NOAA official says oil spill no longer a threat to Florida Keys or East Coast

The Obama administration says the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico no longer poses a threat to the Florida Keys or the East Coast.

A new federal report indicates that only about a quarter of the spilled oil remains in the Gulf and is degrading quickly, with the rest having been contained, cleaned up or having disappeared.

There had been fears that the massive spill could reach South Florida and the East Coast through a powerful loop current, but the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that enough oil has been removed or evaporated to eliminate those fears.

Still, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco cautioned that the remaining oil — much of it below the surface — remains a threat to aquatic life and Gulf Coast marshes. Just because the oil is diluted and largely out of sight "doesn't necessarily mean (it is) benign," Lubchenco said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the threat to the East Coast and other worst-case scenarios feared by many at the beginning of the crisis now appear unlikely.

"I think it is fairly safe to say that because of the environmental effects of Mother Nature, the warmer waters of the Gulf and the federal response, that many of the doomsday scenarios that we talked about and repeated a lot have not and will not come to fruition," Gibbs said, calling that "very good news."