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Obama Says Relief Wells ‘Ahead of Target’

President Obama told reporters today that two relief wells being drilled to permanently stop oil from flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at the Macondo well are “slightly ahead of target.” But the president warned that connecting the relief wells to the broken well on the sea floor is a “delicate operation that could take some time.”

Obama did not specify when the relief wells would be finished, but BP says it should be finished drilling the wells by the end of July or the beginning of August. While oil has stopped leaking into the Gulf after a temporary cap was placed on the well, BP officials say the measure is only a temporary fix.

Though he called the recent development “good news,” the president was careful not to claim a premature victory in his remarks today:

The final solution to this whole problem is going to be the relief wells and getting that completed, but there’s no doubt that we have made progress as a consequence of this new cap fitting on, and that even if it turns out that we can’t keep the containment cap on to completely stop the oil, it’s going to allow us to capture much more oil and we’ll see less oil flowing into the Gulf.

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