The greatest offshore oil spill in the history of the country seems under control.
The well has been capped, although not permanently "killed," and the massive clean-up efforts — with the help of Mother Nature — have been far more effective than many could have imagined.
Still, we must not become too comfortable with the apparent success, for it will be years before we'll know the full environmental and economic impact to the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal states that depend on it.
Scientists naturally remain concerned about a large plume of dispersed oil deep below the ocean surface.
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The horrific explosion in April of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig leased by BP killed 11 workers, and for three months, thousands of barrels of oil a day leaked into the gulf.
The live TV image of the gushing oil from the ocean floor was a sickening sight. Even more horrendous was watching oil-covered wildlife come ashore and the sticky black goo invade the marshes and pristine beaches.
It was particularly sad to see industrious fishermen and small business owners, many of whom were just recovering from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, close up shop as fisheries were placed off limits and the tourist industry collapsed.
But I saw something else happen during this disaster that makes me not want to play the blame game or point fingers, but rather focus more on the positive things that came out of this national emergency.
Although many were frustrated by response efforts on the part of BP and the government, we have to admit now that overall this massive undertaking proved to be not only appropriate, but right.
While attempts were made to cap the well, an army of individuals — BP employees, government workers and out-of- work fishermen — assumed the tasks of skimming the oil from the surface, burning large portions, using dispersants to dilute it in the ocean and cleaning it from the beaches.
Taking part in this gigantic effort were more than 32,000 people and 5,300 vessels.
Then there were the environmentalists who relocated more than 2,100 baby sea turtles from the gulf to the Atlantic Ocean and collected and cleaned more than 1,600 birds affected by the spill.
Officials estimate that more than 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the gulf, and today most of it is gone, although we don't really know how much may still lie beneath the surface.
The process of attending to the needs of hurting people has been under way for some time with BP paying out more than $368 million to businesses and individuals damaged by the spill. With the insistence of the Obama administration, the giant oil company has set up a $20 billion escrow fund to be administered by an independent administrator.
It won't be easy to sort out all the claims, but the administrator of the fund, Kenneth Feinberg, has the expertise, stamina and sheer will to do it as well as anyone. Feinberg was the special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and, while not making everyone happy, he received generally rave reviews for his overseeing that tedious and delicate process.
I watched in amazement as the public and private sectors worked together, at times in adversarial roles, but still working together toward one end — to do what was best for the people and the environment.
The government's man on the ground, retired Adm. Thad Allen, seemed always on point even when he was criticized for being too cautious and too slow at times. He held BP's feet to the fire.
At the same time, BP responded with an unprecedented amount of manpower, technology and money to corral the spill, and made the commitment to stay as long as it takes to complete the job.
There will be continued debate about the administration's six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling, as some say it only added to the economic woes of the region.
Although it's difficult to ask people to be patient when their livelihoods are at stake, it is important that we stay focused on making the Gulf Coast and its residents whole again.
And that means, for now, putting the blame game on hold.
Sanders is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.