BP: "This is certainly a major step forward"

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – BP's oil well is sealed. Oil is no longer pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. That part of the Coastal Crisis is over. "This is certainly a major step forward," BP Gulf Coast Restoration head Mike Utsler told WLOX News on this morning's Good Morning Mississippi program.

Crews pumped in cement on Friday to plug BP's well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor. The cement had hardened by Saturday, and a pressure test conducted confirmed that the plug would hold. The gusher was contained in mid-July after a temporary cap was successfully fitted atop the well. Mud and cement were later pushed down through the top of the well, allowing the cap to be removed. But the well could not be declared dead until a relief well was drilled.

BP representatives say just because the well is dead, their work along the gulf coast is just beginning. "We know people are concerned on our committed focus on the cleanup efforts," Utsler said. "I want to assure you that we continue to have more than 25,000 people working to clean our beaches, our shorelines, our marshes, and to continue our assessing and evaluating of the ongoing recovery.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says now that the blown well in the gulf has been killed, his administration will also continue to evaluate economic and environmental effects from the disaster. Barbour said in a news release he expects BP and the federal claims process to continue to work with his state's residents and local governments to recover from the spill.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.