Well capping brings relief but fear of abandonment

The gusher has finally been beaten back, and from 400 miles up government satellites assure that the oil in the Gulf of Mexico is disappearing. But Dave Marino only wishes he could put that kind of distance between himself and the Deepwater Horizon spill.

As northern breezes drove tides lower in the last few days, temperatures well into the 90s seemed to reliquify the sludge lodged in marshes near Marino’s home of Myrtle Grove, La., releasing a steady, black drip from the high grasses. Walking on the beach at Isle Grand Terre, Marino looked back to see oil oozing from his footprints in the sand.

“There’s still oil out here,” says Marino, a firefighter who runs a charter fishing boat on the side. “It’s all over the place. Not much has changed.”

But with BP cautiously declaring its “static kill” a success in plugging the once-runaway well, and the Obama administration’s claims that crews and nature had taken care of all but a quarter of the estimated 207 million gallons of crude that have poured from the blowout, Marino and others can already feel the nation’s gaze turning away.

Aug. 9