[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]
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.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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