May 24th, 2010
08:40 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Oil Spill Empty Promises

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/05/24/gergen.oil.spill.leadership/story.oil.spill.cleanup.comment.gi.jpg caption="A BP cleanup crew removes oil from a beach in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Sunday." width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

BP’s top executive vows his company is doing all it can to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We are not limiting the resources that we are applying to this. We are trying to do the right thing, we're trying to do it the right way, and we are trying to communicate openly and transparently about everything that we've done," BP chief executive Tony Hayward said this afternoon at Fourchon Beach, Louisiana, where oil cleanup efforts are underway.

"We are here for the long haul. We are going to clean every drop of oil off the shore," pledged Hayward.

BP announced a commitment today of up to $500 million to open a research program to study the impact of the spill. The first grant will go to Louisiana State University.

Meanwhile, the oil continues to leak into the Gulf. This is day 35 of the spill. BP's next effort to plug the leak will take place at dawn Wednesday in a maneuver known as a "top kill", where heavy kill mud will be pumped into the well so it reduces the pressure and then the oil flow from the well. If the well is shut down BP will then use cement to cap the leak. BP admits this has never been done at these depths.

As we do each night on 360°, we're keeping them honest. Tonight hear what Hayward said about the environmental impact of the spill last week and how he changed his tune today. We'll also get beyond all the talk and show you up close what's at stake.

You’ll see what's happening to the birds and other animals that call the Gulf-area home. Anderson will talk with Billy Nungesser, the President of Louisana's Plaquemines Parish who was once in the oil business. He said today there are islands in his area with "thousands of pelicans" covered with oil. "We're playing with a disaster beyond anybody's imagination," Nungesser said.

We're also looking at the suggestion from some people that the federal government should take over the effort to close the leak. Tom Foreman made some calls on that today and will share what he discovered. Dan Simon is digging deeper on how chemical dispersants work on an oil spill. It’s a toxic effort. The EPA has said it's "deeply concerned" about the potential side effects.

We also have a CNN investigation on the pirate hijacking of the Maersk Alabama last year off the coast of Somalia. 16 of its 19 crew members say the captain ignored explicit warnings to stay well of the coast. "It's almost like he wanted to be captured," the ship's chief engineer, Mike Perry, told CNN's Drew Griffin. The captain was rescued by U.S. Navy SEAL commandos and later lauded for his bravery. But those crew members tell a different story.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Catherine

    I'm not a physicist, but plugging an underwater pressure system of unknown magnitude, will the ground surface be able to maintain? Is there a potential for further explosion?
    Silly question. I'm certain this is taken into consideration...

    May 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  2. Cheryl Manzone

    Hello All,
    Love the show.
    Keeping them honest. Impossible
    Since when do we let the crooks monitor the crooks. Who does BP think they are ? and where are the Government balls to step in and get the job done, unless everyone in corporate America is sleeping with one another. To think that BP is worried when there is a cap on their
    liability is laughable but I can't because I'm crying for all of us.. Stop buying anything related BP. Let's stand up and scream We are not going to take it anymore.
    Sick to my core
    May God forgive us and help us for our greed
    Please keep your eyes on this horror company

    May 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  3. Grace from Louisiana

    Please can we not worry about blame right now and someone take the reins of leadership. This is a disaster. I can't watch the news ; I can only hope and pray that something will work. We are a strong breed down here on the bayou. We'll never give up.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  4. dave charles

    Why do the politicans always get free rides and abuse their power...
    why are they not held accountable for their actions, obama preached change for the country but its the same old same old... If he wants change the they should make some new laws that have zero tolerance for abuse of office,, like msc those guyes should have to face jail time, loss of penshion money, fines... every thing that real people would have to face... but in stead they will probabily get full penshion benafites, compensated for what causing the billions of dollars in damage, and suffering of the people of the gulf coast it is a shame that these people have no respect for the position they are elected for ..This is because they know that there will be no consaquenses for the gifts they recieve, someone has to have the balls to change the rules...

    May 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  5. Smith in Oregon

    Where was the contingency plan from the Bush administration regarding a deep sea crude Oil well rupture?

    Where was FEMA who should have brought out Gas and Oil experts on every phase of recovery on this operation?

    FEMA should have long ago created a sizable list of experts around the world that could be consulted and called upon for any contingency emergency plan.

    President Obama should have immediately brought in a team of Gas and Oil attorneys to bring him up to speed on the Nations laws regarding liability. Using the Presidential bully-pulpit to shame BP is not very useful if it is used daily as a substitute for a lack of judicial knowledge regarding the subject of disagreement.

    Clearly President Obama is a noted scholar of Constitutional laws, however he appears to not be very knowledgeable in regards to Gas and Oil laws which almost entirely protects Big Oil corporations from a wide range of liability.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:08 am |
    • bob

      Lets be honest. its been over a month since this spill started. BP has accomplished nothing. Myriads of government bureacracies are on the sidelines. Politcians do fly-overs for press coverage. The WhiteHouse offers zero leadership, Congress has theatrical, embarassing hearings, and Salazar should go. The people of LA and the Gulf/wetlands are crying for help. And the Keystone Cops are in charge!! God help us

      May 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  6. concerned joe

    To those who keep saying this was just an accident: Nonsense! Stop the whitewash. BP has a horrible safety record, and BP has a costcutting and profiteering culture that encouraged cutting corners.

    May 25, 2010 at 1:53 am |
  7. Whit

    There has to be better options than depending on mud to resolve this environmental disaster. For almost a week now I've been hearing about this idea but why hasn't any attempt been made? The U.S. is looking at this disaster as localized problem, when the reality is its very soon to be a world-wide problem if nothing is soon done. We need to involve other countries and governments. China, Japan, Russia, Canada, and various countries in Europe may be sitting on solutions that could aid, if not resolve, this problem. The entire world needs to be involved in this and evaluate the environmental and financial impacts possible on their own countries if a solution is not found. It seems to me that BP and our own gov't have nothing going and its time for the almighty United States to ask for help,

    May 25, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  8. Darell Gaddie

    I have to say that I've been waiting for the brilliant minds in the government and at BP to offer a logical and simple solution to the threat to the coastline.
    Here is one, as a suggestion, there are fishing boats sitting at anchor when they could be out dredging the oil using their nets. Perhaps the nets would need to be covered with mesh first? Oil will go through until it coagulates then it should be picked up easily. Boats going out in relays can do the job and the heck with the nets, the government will replace them. I'm an MBA, not an engineer, but it seems to me that this solution is simple, available, it should work, and it is better than doing nothing and blaming each other. All that would be risked are a few blown engines from the weight.

    May 25, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  9. lisal -canada

    With the number of active and exploratory wells that BP has all over, it seems highly unlikely that this is the first 'spill' or 'leak' that has had to be dealt with. It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to wonder if one of the reasons they are so eager to continue to use this dispersant because they 'know' it works well to sink the oil and hide the spill before it reaches the surface.

    It would be interesting (although likely cost-prohibitive) to get ahold of a submersible capable of taking a video look at the ocean bottoms around wells that have been bored in the past. I wonder if we would see a bunch of that disgusting goo settled all over the ocean floor.

    If BP is the only one who has access to such submersible technology, then they will be the only ones who know whether there is more of this 'dispersed' oil floating or settling around their well areas. Horrible disturbing thought. Especially when there is no easy way to know.

    May 25, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  10. MM


    Another disaster requires AC to report on the spot.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:47 am |
  11. Fred

    It just doesn't make any logic why we don't contactWoods Hole to get some assistance

    May 25, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  12. Lisa Hughes

    BTW – Curious Mind – are you completely mad? Or is your name DICK Cheney? Who gives a rats %$# about BPs profits – they are destroying the entire Gulf of Mexico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  13. mevans64

    I think that the Gulf Coast states should began to come up with plans to protect their coastlines. The governors of these states need to join with Governor Jindal and begin to develop a disaster plan to save their coasts. The oil is coming what are you going to do to protect the coastal environment and economy. I have been vacationing and enjoying the Gulf Coast all my life. It is a heartbreaking to see the pictures of the oil sludge in the marshes and on the beautiful beaches. People should be outrage by this disaster.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  14. Lisa Hughes

    What is going on? Why is this being left up to BP? And someone please help me understand why I give a damn about BPs losses? Can you even begin to put a price tag on the loss of the Gulf of Mexico. This is a disaster of epic proportions and it feels like the government is standing by waiting for BP to come up with the answer.

    In my humble, and extremely ticked off, opinion, this disaster and the lack of action by the Obama Administration, will be the demise of his career.

    It has been spewing oil for 35 days – constantly – never stopping – for 24 hours a day! BP refuses an order by the Environmental Protection Agency in US waters – is everyone in bed together? How is that even possible? If a government agency issues an order to anyone else, and they don't follow regulations there are huge fines and even jail.

    I am grateful for my trip to Florida's Gulf coast 2 weeks ago. I love the Gulf side and it will probably never be the same. How sad.

    Why isn't the government mobilizing every possible resource like the National Guard, the Army, Navy, Marines – everything we can to save the marshes and coast line, the dolphins, the pelicans, the fish, the turtles? What will we tell our kids?

    Why aren't Senators and Congressmen/women up in arms – why aren't people making more noise? Is everyone too busy? Does anyone get it?

    And one other thing, to anyone who feels the need to defend the oil rigs ... I'm as guilty as the next guy for my dependence on oil, but we need to get off our asses and move towards new "earth friendly" sources of energy. If we would step up and get off the stuff, there would be no more disasters like this and no concern for them any longer.

    I have such a pit in my stomach over this whole emergency, I can barely stand to watch the coverage. And the biggest reason is the egos of the BP executives and the lack of ANYTHING by our President and his leaders. We cannot afford to wait and see – DO SOMETHING NOW!! PLEASE!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  15. James

    Enough of this blame game. We all use oil we all need to volunteer our time to take care of this could be disaster. This is all of our faults. What we can do to start is a shovel and a bag and a buddy. There is one thing to do if any. It only takes one to start a revolution. Today is one, tomorrow is two. Next day is 10. 4 days later is 1 thousand. 36 days has past without a ensuring plan. I will do what I can to preserve the oil being used. While the oil in the gulf and the rest of the world sits there. One cannot be that foolish to build something they cannot control, or seen this happening. Or are they? With this soon to be enormous disaster all assets need to be frozen and paychecks taken for all BP executives and it's employees until the gulf and the world is back to what it was before this happened. We are wasting time letting BP try to solve it. They don't know how to fix a problem after it's been made. The government sticks their noses in places they don't belong all the time. Why not now!! SAVE THE WALES!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  16. jeff stump

    an immediate way to stop the spread of oil is to put a containment curtain of at least 18 foot diameter from the surface to the well head. the oil will naturally come to the surface where it can be pumped into waiting tanker by pumps without the problem of ice crystals forming.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  17. Grace from Louisiana

    I don't know if anyone else can relate, but the events of the oil spill are bringing right back up to the surface the feelings of helplessness thatwe experienced with Katrina. My whole heart and soul is in our unique culture and it feels as though it is slipping away. Please send help.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  18. jeff stump

    this cleanup can be handled in a much simpler and complete way by thried and tested methods. i clean up minor oil spills in the iol field at least once a week, and the trick is using dawn dish soap as a dispersant. the operation doesnt need a large berm in order to work. all it takes is a containment "wall" tall enough to float the oil. you treat the oil with the soap solution and the skim the oil and water into a vacuum truck or other vessel. let sit 1 to 2 minutes so the oil and water seperate in the tank and then you can reapply the solution straight out of the truck because the oil will stay at the top of the water in the tank. this can be repeated as many times as necessary until the truck is full of oil. this method is less abrasive on the coast line and even the grass and marshes.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  19. MikeSN

    I think it would work. You can use some kind of heating mechanism to warm it up while it is sucked up and moved up the pipes.
    Another way would be to cover the well and surface with the cement.
    Or is it once the well is opened it can't be closed???

    Why can't they use the same technology to suck the oil out that they were using before ?

    There are 100+ deep oil drilling stations in the Gulf can the equipment be relocated to the disaster area and be connected????

    May 24, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  20. chelsie

    CWRoberts Presentation 2.wmv : This youtube video demonstrates a very good idea that doesnt involve any chemicals for clean up. Using hay to collect atleast the oil floating on top of the gulfs water could not possibly do any more damage than is being done. Americans raise thousands of acres of hay every year and many have left over hay that is not good enough for livestock that could be donated. A simple soulution that could atleast help! Please watch this video!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  21. Samantha Rowley

    It is so sad to see the pictures of the wildlife and wetlands of Louisiana covered with that oil sludge. Who will stand up and take charge of this? BP? Coast Guard? EPA? Federal Government? I'm not sure I trust any one group alone to handle this devastating crisis. By the way, it is not just a Louisiana problem nor just a regional problem. I sure hope the "top kill" works but I'm not yet convinced.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  22. Jane Delve

    I am disgusted the government has yet to make any significant move on this disaster. Obama has lost a ton of credibility. Where's the leadership, Mr. Debonaire?

    How ironic that ordinary citizens have become fastidious in the choice of green products, the safe and proper disposal of toxic wastes like paint and used motor oil, and lower emissions in the cars we drive. We feel guilty if a can or bottle finds its way into the landfill instead of the recycling bin. The green choices of millions around the globe are basically cancelled out by the unconscionable failure to act by BP and by the federal government. I'm mystified. I'm deeply afraid for our poor planet.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  23. John Voeller

    BP apparently believes they can pump mud into the top structure of the Christmas tree to push down the oil flow enough to stop iit and without mixing allow it to harden........Sorry BP but this only works if the pipe above the kill port is CLOSED. Otherwise, the mud enters the tree, is entrained in the oil and gas flow and shoots out the broken pipe with the oil and gas. If you could shut off the pipe above the kill port, the leak would be stopped and there would be no leaked. Killing is used to seal a shut well........Whoever is running is for BP is either crazy or is running a series of delays to allow them to drill the relief wells so they can get all the oil out which a successful kill would delay........$$$$$

    May 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  24. Harald H

    AC, so many things have been tried to stop the oil from draining into the Gulf! Sofar explosives and or charges around the site has not been discussed in order to seal/stop the leak!! .........why would this be? Maybe this question should be asked! We have the technology to take down high rises with high precision! Their main priority seems to be to keep this site active, so money can roll in again! Our ecology system and the people that will be affected by this disaster should be our priority!!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  25. Sandra

    As long as it has been spilling, and no seeming end in sight-how long would it take them to attach an accordion hose to the pipe and get it topside to a disposal area? Or, is it possible to build up the pipe to a height they can work with?

    May 24, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  26. Matthew

    Where is Mike Rowe? Check the Dirty Jobs archives, it would be real funny if there was a show with guys who specialize in the very thing we need for the gulf.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
  27. liz

    check out Facebook Boycott BP and you will see how many people are so angry about this.....this is the end of the gulf as we know it and no one is doing anything except talking...I feel betrayed by Obama and the whole thing is tragic.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  28. Marguerite

    The one that has the money has the power. The problem is that these government agencies like the EPA have no real power, they can fine them but then what?

    May 24, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  29. John Monte from South Louisiana

    I will attempt to set the record straight; the failure of Federal government playing the shell blame game; which includes the president due to both lack of knowledge and lack of leadership is part of the natural disaster now occurring.

    The government should ahve declared a national disaster then imposed Marshall Law but will not because of costs they would have to pay.

    BP the mineral lease holder is responsible for all clean up costs; if the government voids the lease in any way, they will assume all clean up costs from that point on.

    The sand berms being proposed would work and everyone here says go for it now since theCorp of Engineers gave teh ok.

    The President promised help from the Navy which can raise parts of Soviet subs from the ocean floor.

    So now legal money and defense secrets become parts of the story

    May 24, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  30. Citizen Jane

    Why is Thad Allen still running the Coast Guard and why is BP still "in charge" of the oil spill? After working as a civilian "problem solver" for the Coast Guard for the past three years I've been aghast at the level of incompetency and outright mismanagement at the top levels of Homeland Security for the past two administrations. The CG has had one disaster after another for the past few years due to failure of leadership and now it's looking like the Commandant's backing and protection of of BP is another case in point.

    I hope an independent agency will investigate the gross mismanagement of funds, resources and manpower of Homeland Security and provide better oversight of the EPA. There's no time for arguing the point that there needs to be a government takeover of this crisis and that all international offers of assistance be considered.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  31. Samuel Paul Routh

    I live in Odessa TX, i go to midland college and this is my second year, i called the B.P support line where you submit your ideas to clean up the oil spill and i have yet to hear a response. My idea was to build a large scale centrifuge to separate the oil from the water.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  32. Joe ebbers

    keep the gov't out of it. They know little about the solutions .... let the oil company try to solve the problem ... there are no experts in this subject with the gov't or else they would have been there already. THey'll only play the blame game!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  33. William

    BP does not have the answer; this could have been dealt with in 24 Hours with bunker buster bombs. Penetrate ocean floor and collapse casing under BOP. America Navy has this technology, use it to destroy casing 40-50 feet under BOP and weight of above formation will plug leak.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  34. Samuel

    If the Feds can allow the "drill baby drill" then they should fix the spill and stick BP with the bill.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  35. Mary

    There is a design for a device that quickly and efficiently picks up oil slicks from the ocean's surface. It was developed by Halston Connally, great nephew of the former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, John B. Connally and a young PLA officer in the Lanzhou Region. If their design were used, this oil spill would disappear in a matter of weeks. Why don't we force the EPA to use it?!

    May 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  36. joan conover

    Sickness due to oil fumes, contact with oil. While one LA representative has asked the Secretary of Health for emergency clinics for those working the spill; no one has raised the specter of danger due to the chemicals the crews are working in. Who is tracking this? Is BP setting up health clinics–because that is going to be a definate need==.for the workers and citizens of all the affected areas. What about health insurance or coverage for those workers, and citizens who will contract lung and skin issues, or serious and more deadly disease such as cancer because of contact with the spill? What about the children in the affected areas –should the familys with small little ones be relocated to a safer area. Is there a danger with children coming in contact with fumes, tar, oil and/or dispersal liquids? I think the answer is YES. So–who is incharge of protecting the US citizens from the obvious dangers? Unless the spill is cleaned up immediately –which is not happening–entire communitys along the Gulf coast will all need medical monitoring and health care for the foreseeable future. Of course, if every drop is "cleaned up".........before it impacts the shoreline..as indicated by BP..we should be "home free"..RIGHT?????

    May 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  37. mike

    If BP would hook the pump hose to the collection cone that is sitting on the sea floor the lower it over the spill and pump the oil to the storage barge it would prevent the come from freezing up?

    May 24, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  38. joan conover

    "We are here for the long haul. We are going to clean every drop of oil off the shore," pledged Hayward.
    So OSHA has developed a training plan so we can get involved in oil spill cleanup–cost is 575.00 dollars for the training. Since to "clean" up every drop..will take a lot of manual labor –shouldnt BP provide the training at no cost. AND Believe me you..its going to take a LOT of effort to "clean every drop of oil off the shore." and off property. I also picture a person..with property (boat/beach ??) who has oil spill debris on it. WHO do they call for immediate action? And for how long does the support continue–months, years?. Does the US gov come in and clean it up..for those fishing boats-who hauls, strips paint impregnated with oil off, and repaints the hulls?...How long to respond? How long to fix. Will it be in our lifetimes?

    May 24, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  39. mike

    When using the collection cone that failed, why couldn't BP hook up the hose that was going to be used to pump the oil back to the surface as they lowered the cone to prevent it from icing up?

    May 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  40. todd patrick

    Just wondering..why can we not drill next to existing well, set underwater explosives and cave in well. Then re drill new access?

    May 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  41. Polly Glover

    Maybe BP and Obama will listen if you come. We need you for the future of our coast. Please help save the ecosystem like you did for us during Katrina

    May 24, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  42. J. Jackson

    The first, and only plan from day one, should have been to research, plan and execute a top kill of the well. BP has to stop focusing on solutions that involve catching the oil. The only plan necessary is to stop the oil. Period. Any other plan is just stringing the Gulf Coast and all of America along until the relief wells are drilled.

    May 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  43. Curious Mind

    I feel it is time to inject a bit of reality into this discussion. As background, I worked in oil exploration many years ago, even including drilling an exploratory well several miles from the disaster with a similar sort of drilling rig.

    The tremendous outcry for new laws and regulations on oil companies will have very limited effect. My job while in exploration was to predict and prevent such accidents, as was the concern of over half of the employees on the rig. We took this obligation very seriously, as we would have been among those killed by such an accident. Federal laws could not have motivated us any more than our own interest of self preservation.

    The drilling contractor has at risk a drilling platform costing hundreds of millions of dollars, earning millions of dollars each month in charges. The primary interest for these companies will be to protect these assets and their revenue stream. Once again, federal penalties will not motivate these companies any better.

    BP has already lost the cots involved in drilling 3 wells, certainly in the tens of millions, plus the costs of cleanup, which should be over a billion dollars. It is also loing the revenue from producing the oil which is being spilled, so figure 20,000 barrels a day at wellhead price of say $ 40 a barrel.... at least 800 thousand dollars a day. Need I say more?

    The most ludicrous idea I have heard is to take the relief efforts away from BP? Will the reporters use their pointless and divisive verbiage to plug the hole. Talk about a 'junk shot'.

    There has not been an accident of this type in 40 years. Please understand, drilling for oil is complicated and fraught with danger. It's like fishing through a keyhole several MILES below the surface. And you are three times more likely to hook a monster than a fish. Failure to anticipate this problem is not exactly negligence, in my opinion.

    May 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  44. Isabell from Indiana

    I appreciate that you are going to discuss how the oil spill is affecting wildlife. I hope Anderson will travel to report directly on this issue.

    May 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  45. Matt B.

    Could you imagine the devastation if this last attempt fails? No way can the gulf sustain until August.

    May 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm |