100 Days Later: Has Gulf Disaster Really Turned?

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One hundred days after the massive oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of crude oil gushing into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a tranquil image is emerging.

Aerial pictures of the region show there's little trace of the estimated 184 million barrels of oil that leaked out of the broken well head.

With the well now capped, British Petroleum officials hope to shutoff the well completely within the next several weeks.

Next, it's up to the oil giant's new CEO Robert Dudley to get the cleanup job done - and to get it done right.

"We clean up the beaches.  We'll restore the Gulf, and we'll be doing that for a long time," the Mississippi native said. "And that is my number one focus."

In the meantime, researchers have been scratching their heads wondering what happened to all that oil that covered thousands of square miles of water in the Gulf.

The toxic substance appears to be dissolving a lot quicker than expected.  But scientists warn that a lot of the oil has broken up and sunk beneath the surface of the water.  And the effects could linger for a long time.

"There's a lot of dispersed oil in the water, and that stuff could end up in the food web," the University of Georgia's Dr. Samantha Joye explained.

Still, 100 days after, there's a great deal more of optimism.

While most of Louisiana's commercial fishing grounds have remained closed, recreational fishing is slowly starting to come back. One fisherman even snagged a 28 pound catch.

"We'll eat it tonight," sports fisherman Martin Knight declared. "Absolutely we didn't see a drop (of oil).  There is not a drop out there."

Most Gulf residents just want to get back to doing what they do best - fishing.

"We have to be very sure that when we put these back there they are safe for the consumer," oyster fisherman Mitch Jurisich said.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the Gulf oil spill compensation fund, promised to speed up the claims process.

"I am working as fast as I can, as diligently as I can, full-time, to get the Gulf Coast claims facility up and running - to get it funded so that these emergency claims can be made as soon as possible," he said.

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