Today’s Q’s for O’s WH

By Matt Loffman

May 3, 2010 3:21pm

Yunji de Nies:  Robert, two questions.

The first one is, we hear so many different timeframes as to when this oil well will actually be under control.  What is the best-case and what is the worst-case scenario?  I mean, I'm hearing everything from a matter of days to 90 days in the worst case.  What is your sense of timing? 

(CROSSTALK)

GIBBS:  Well, I would direct you to B.P. in terms of what — what they might say.

Look, I think there are a series of processes that, as you said, could take — could take a matter of days.  I think — I forget the exact term of the structure of putting on top of the — the valve would take probably another week.  The original well took 90 days to drill and it could take — it could take that long to drill a relief well.

de Nies:  So if it takes up to 90 days, is that something that the president is comfortable with?

GIBBS:  Well, I'm not sure the president can alter the pace of drilling in the Atlantic.  We're — I mean in the Gulf.  I'm sorry.

We're — I used this phrase yesterday.  Secretary Salazar used this phrase.  And that is, we're going to do what we have to do.  We will keep our — as Secretary Salazar said, our boot on the throat of B.P. to ensure that they're doing all that they — all that is necessary while we do all that is humanly possible to deal with this incident.  Absolutely.

de Nies:  I wonder, on the plane ride back yesterday, did the president share any personal reflections with you about what he saw on the ground, how he's feeling about all this?

GIBBS:  Well, you know, I think the — the — I talked a little bit about this on the trip home.

You get a real — you get a real sense of the — the — the topography, the geography of — of what we're dealing with, and how — the president said that — you could see from the air the wetlands in that area obviously have undergone lots of change, and not for the good, over the past many years.

The president said you could see that from the air.

Speaking with the parish presidents, speaking with the local fishermen, you get a sense of what's at stake, both environmentally and economically.

And I think the president reiterated to all of us, as he had said — has said over many, many days, and that is, we must do all that we can, as aggressively as we can, to — to combat this incident.

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