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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Governor Jindal Fed-up With BP; BP, the Government & Accountability; Trying to Collect from BP; Chopper Ride with BP Executives; Wives of BP Survivors Speak Out; Turning Trash into Art

Aired June 9, 2010 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, holding BP accountable and "Keeping Them Honest", as oil continues to gush yet again into the Gulf. The government's man in charge, Admiral Thad Allen sends a letter to BP CEO, Tony Hayward demanding more transparency on claim payments; as we've been telling you for weeks, fishermen say they are not getting paid.

People here say that would certainly be a start, but few here believe that BP has been transparent about much of anything.

Now, here is a letter that we obtained today, this is sent from BP's Chief Operating Officer, Doug Suttles to BP employees in the Gulf. It wasn't sent to us because we don't actually get direct communication with BP. He writes, "BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the cleanup operation from sharing his or her own experiences or opinions with the media." He says he has not and will not.

Now, I can tell you the first part, has not, is simply not true. BP has hired security people who -- to keep journalists away from cleanup teams. They have workers -- workers over and over have told us, have told me over and over, that they can't talk because BP told them they would lose their jobs.

BP made fishing crews early on sign non-disclosure contracts until the fishermen's association took the company to court.

So BP is saying it has not tried to muzzle people, that's simply -- I mean that dog just won't hunt. Now, whether they will not, that remains to be seen and we'll be "Keeping Them Honest."

They promised transparency as you know numerous times in the past. But I mean, let's be real here. Let's remember, they didn't make video pictures of a leak available for weeks and even then it was a 30-second clip and not until forced to do that by Congress. They didn't make these high resolution HD pictures available to flow rate scientists, at least one of the scientists we've talked to -- until yesterday and only after lawmakers pressured them. We didn't even know these pictures existed.

They didn't tell the public or even Thad Allen they'd suspended the "top kill" operation until 16 hours later. And for weeks we know, they have low-balled the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf. I mean they did this along with the Coast Guard, until the Coast Guard stopped doing joint briefings with them?

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're estimating 1,000 barrels per day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 barrels a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five thousand barrels a day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The flow rate technical group has determined the overall estimate potentially flowing from the well is a range of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day.

ADM. THAD ALLEN, NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: 12,000 to 19,000 and 12,000 to 25,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So Thad Allen on Sunday, I heard that was 25,000; it's the first time I ever heard that. The number now just keeps going up. And even though BP has said almost from day one that knowing the size of the leak isn't important, they were focused on fixing it they said, not measuring it.

Well, now, at least the Coast Guard is saying it is essential to know the size of this leak. Today, BP is saying that the cap on top of the cut riser pipe is catching more than 15,000 barrels a day; 15,000 barrels.

Now, they have never even admitted that 15,000 barrels of oil were coming out of that pipe; 15,000 barrels is 15 times the original estimated size of the leak, triple the 5,000 figure they clung to long after independent scientists said it was bunk; 15,000 barrels is more than 100 percent of the current low end estimate of 12,000 barrels leaking a day.

So 15,000 barrels, I mean you could look, look at the pictures see for yourself -- all that stuff still coming out of that pipe. We have not been getting the real story, the truth from day one.

If getting answers from BP is tough so is getting action. I found out today with a very frustrated Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, on a beach, trying to show BP the way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): On east Grand Terra (ph) island, a simple and seemingly successful experiment in cleaning up crude, a rudimentary vacuum which sucks up oil on the surface of the water and sends it to a container on a nearby barge.

You would think dozens of vacuums like this have been deployed all over Louisiana for weeks. But they haven't. In fact, there are only a handful being used and they've only been running for a couple days.

(on camera): When you see this, what do you think?

BOBBY JINDAL (R), GOVERNOR LOUISIANA: This is exactly how we need to be fighting this oil.

COOPER: Governor Bobby Jindal and local officials are so fed up, waiting for BP to clean up oil, that they've gone ahead and they're testing a few of these vacuums with the help of the National Guard.

JINDAL: We know we've got to use more aggressive and more creative solutions -- this is why and I'm not going to --

COOPER: You call this Cajun ingenuity.

JINDAL: Absolutely. This is South Louisiana Cajun ingenuity, you know the same people that brought you the Higgins boats are now bring you -- the same people who brought you the New Orleans Saints, the Tigers are now bringing you this. It's a vacuum truck on the back of a barge.

This isn't a silver bullet. But what we're saying is, this in combination with the sand dredging, which is another Louisiana idea, in combination with booming only the critical passes, in combination with using dredges and rocks in the main passes all of those together give you true multiple lines of defense.

COOPER (voice-over): So far the Coast Guard has only authorized the limited use of these vacuums and it can only suck up a few thousand gallons of oil a day. But with larger equipment and more of it, state officials insist the vacuums could be a big help.

(on camera): Without something to actually suck up this oil, what you're left with essentially are these booms that prevents the oil from spreading further into the marshes and you can see the oil basically congeals here on these thick blogs.

But in order to actually get rid of this oil, they come in with absorbent pads, that's the method they are using now but it's a pretty slow method and pretty ineffective.

(voice-over): To pressure BP to start using the vacuums, Governor Jindal brought a group of reporters out today to demonstrate how they work, a photo op to be sure but the governor is willing to try just about anything to get BP's attention.

(on camera): So Governor, what's your message to BP today?

JINDAL: My bottom line message is we're showing that it works. Let's scale this up quickly, let's not wait. Don't wait for this oil to hit the coastline. The plans they've got are not enough. This idea that they're just going to come out with absorbent pads or they're going to eventually send shallow water skimmers is not enough or that they're just going to leave the oil here is not enough.

They've got to fight this oil before it comes on our coastline. My message is this is a war and the way we win this war is to throw everything we've got to keep this oil out of the wetlands.

COOPER: How frustrating is it that, you know, 50 plus days into this, it's coming down to you coming out here with the National Guard and kind of jerry-rigging the system?

JINDAL: You know at the end of the day, we said all along, we're not waiting for others to come rescue us. We've got to protect our coast. The people that live down here, that work down here, and know what's at stake, this is our way of life.

And look, it is frustrating, as we get whole day after day there'll be more skimmers tomorrow and more boom tomorrow. We say enough is enough. We're not waiting for all that.

COOPER (voice-over): He may not want to wait any longer but to vacuum this oil on a larger scale, he does have to get further approval from the Coast Guard and somehow convince BP to pick up the tab.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It seems so simple.

Let's bring in Democratic strategist and nonpartisan Louisianan, James Carville and also Rice University presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley.

I want to talk about this kind of simple solution. But first, this high resolution video, I haven't been able to talk to you about this. It boggles my mind that last night, we talked to a scientist on the flow rate team mandated by the government to estimate this leak, which the Coast Guard had said it's crucial, he didn't get high resolution video until yesterday.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If it weren't be for Congressman Markey and Senator Boxer and Senator Nelson, we wouldn't even have this today. And I've talked to somebody who's very, very high in Environment and Public Works Committee, the lawyers fought this the whole way. They had everything --

COOPER: BP lawyers?

CARVILLE: BP lawyers -- BP lawyers delivered the tape to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. That's how we got it.

Now, I don't understand why somebody doesn't drop a subpoena, or the Justice Department or somebody, drop a subpoena and say if we don't have it in 24 hours, that's it, partner.

COOPER: Right.

CARVILLE: We're not fooling around, this is a matter of national security. The Louisiana Coast is being invaded right now. Just literally, we're under invasion from this oil.

And I'm waiting for somebody to say, hey, we're going to fight them on the estuaries, we're going to fight them on the beaches, we're going to fight them on the bayous, we're going to fight them in bays --

COOPER: Right.

COOPER: -- I mean, I'm with the government here, I think, let's get this thing cranked up here.

COOPER: And Doug, Congressman Markey didn't even know about the existence of this high resolution video until he read about it in the paper in the morning. And what I was stunned about, is this morning, Thad Allen -- Admiral Thad Allen was asked about this, if he knew about the video? He didn't answer that part of the question.

So, I'm wondering if he actually knew this video existed for weeks. But also when -- when I asked to explain why it was just released, he said, well, you've got to burn it to a DVD and actually physically take it off the rig from -- from you know, these under -- undersea submersibles.

I mean, you can get these things made at Cincos (ph). I don't understand it. Is burning a DVD that complex an operation? I don't know much about technology but I think it's pretty easy.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, RICE UNIVERSITY: Well, it's a -- and Anderson --

COOPER: There's a question somewhere in there.

BRINKLEY: Yes. No, it's Doug here.

Well, look, this is just another day of bad faith for BP, the fact that they've had this high definition tape, they've kept it, hidden it, fought to release it, as James said, eventually, it's like pulling teeth to get it from them.

They clearly don't want the American people to know what's going on. And I remember about a week ago when "top kill" was going on and all these operations and they didn't want people to watch what they were doing and they wouldn't provide a commentator. You used to say, Anderson, why not have somebody like in a NASA space launch.

But -- but the anger has hit Capitol Hill in a way and it's bipartisan right now. You just heard Bobby Jindal. Bill Nelson right now, is starting with an AP story, that these guys, BP was -- was writing phony reports that they had a response plan that they were going to -- dealing with walruses and seals in the Gulf of Mexico --

COOPER: Right.

BRINKLEY: -- when it doesn't even exist.

COOPER: And this was a response plan which, by the way, approved --

CARVILLE: Right. COOPER: -- by U.S. officials and it said walruses and seals.

CARVILLE: There's a story in "Rolling Stone" by Tim Dickinson, one of the bests things everybody has got to read this -- about how corrupted this MMS was. And it's just failure to sort of protect people.

But, you know, coming back to this, we've got to say, this is literally - we've got to treat this like it's an invasion. And the next thing -- if BP just continues to delay, and lawyer up, and say they don't have this, and hide it and say we couldn't burn the disc or something, then start arresting people, ok?

I mean, something has got to be wrong here, if we're under invasion, and if people just keep playing like hide the tape from us or something. They put poor Martha Stewart in jail because she fibbed to an FBI agent.

I mean, somebody has got to come in and drop the hammer here. They -- you look at -- you can see the stuff that is going on, on the coast right now.

COOPER: Well, Martha Stewart would get this thing cleaned up very quickly.

CARVILLE: She would. I'm for it. Bring her down here.

COOPER: We're going to -- James, stick around. And Doug, stay right there.

We have more after the break.

A reminder: the live chat. Let us know what you think about what's going on at AC360.com.

Also tonight, you're going to meet some of the local people trying to collect what BP owes them and has owed them for weeks now, and they are still waiting. One of the richest companies in the world, we're talking about.

Also, what BP -- BP's Doug Suttles had to say to John Roberts after a chopper tour over a mess like this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A reaction today -- fair or unfair, you be the judge -- to President Obama saying he has yet to pick up the phone and talk with BP CEO Tony Hayward. The President telling NBC's Matt Lauer that Hayward would only tell him what he thinks he would want to hear. Mr. Obama says he's more interested in action.

Sarah Palin criticized him on her Facebook page. Republican Party leader Michael Steele asked why the President could foresee talking to Iran's president, but not the head of BP.

Today, at the White House, CNN's Ed Henry asked spokesman Robert Gibbs about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He's the leader of the company, though. He is the guy who has been the -- he's in the ads, the $50 million ads, the President has criticized. Its Tony Hayward saying: we're going to get this done. We're going to clean it up.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, no, I understand who's in the ads. I'm just -- I'm telling you, based on the corporate governance structure, Ed, in order to implement what -- what it -- whatever you get from BP, the CEO has to get clearance from the board to do. That's -- that's the way the corporate governance structure is -- is laid out.

HENRY: Ok. So -- but when the President said in the NBC interview that he talks to these experts, so he knows who's "blank" to kick, presumably --

GIBBS: "Ass" I think, was the word.

HENRY: Yes, I think -- presumably, is Tony Hayward is the biggest "blank" in this whole -- you know, he's the leader, right?

Is that a hollow claim that he's kicking butt here, or why not pick up the phone and tell the CEO, "We've got to clean up this claims process?"

GIBBS: Well, that's happening today as a result of the meeting that's happening between Tony Hayward and the person in charge of claims for British Petroleum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right, back now with James Carville and Douglas Brinkley.

I don't want to get you in more trouble with the White House than you're probably already in.

CARVILLE: Oh, no.

COOPER: But, I mean, what do you -- how do you assess where the federal government is in all this and the White House?

CARVILLE: I just -- and I don't think -- I don't care if the President calls Tony Hayward or not. I want him to call the attorney general and say, how's that criminal investigation -- you know, the criminal investigation, or what do we have on this civil thing?

It's they tell these people that we don't want to be jacked around anymore, period. And get Senator Boxer on the phone, get Congressman Markey on the phone and say, what can we do to help your committee be sure that you're not getting jacked around? Just -- again, my personal view is, is this country is being invaded. We ought to treat it that way. This is going to -- has the potential to destroy life as we know it in South Louisiana and all over the northern Gulf Coast, and, who knows, maybe if it gets in the gulf stream, the East Coast of the United States.

So this is a -- a thing of the first magnitude here. And call whoever you want, but get the attorney general and get everybody involved in this, we're -- we're under assault.

COOPER: I should point out that I asked to have the number -- you know, for days now, CNN has been putting the number of gallons spilling out in the corner of their screen.

And I know it's dramatic to look at that thing. But that's just -- I mean, no one knows. I mean, the idea that we have some sort of handle on how much oil is leaking out is just a false notion. And so we've taken that thing off the screen.

I think it's more important you just see the actual oil flowing. That tells you what you need to know.

Doug, what do you make of -- of the way the Obama White House is -- and the federal response by the Coast Guard is -- is going?

BRINKLEY: Well, I mean, there are three things, I mean, I think, big baskets, going on.

One is close that well, get the -- capture as much oil as you can, keep the pressure on BP on the relief wells. Second is immediate cleanup. And I think more can be done by the Obama administration. And I -- and but I think the big third piece is coming, when President Obama comes to Florida and Alabama and Mississippi, and that is holding BP responsible for the Natural Resource Damage Act, for the Oil Spill Response Act.

And, by that, I mean BP is going to end up paying somewhere between $10 billion to $15 billion, maybe even $20 billion, because they're going -- one of the only ways to save the Louisiana wetlands is going to be -- you know, the Mississippi River has been channelized for navigation.

Well, now the Mississippi River has to be redirected. It's going to have to be flooded and sediment pumped into these marshlands to save it. I think the Obama administration --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, no, wait. No, wait. Doug, is this just a hope on your part?

BRINKLEY: No.

COOPER: Or -- I mean, I know you have been talking to sources. Do you believe this is actually going to happen?

BRINKLEY: Yes. Yes.

And it's one of the reasons why the President is not talking to Tony Hayward. And they are going to come out with a large Gulf Recovery Act, because the oil and gas industry has been dredging. We have disappearing barrier islands. For 40 years down there, it's abused the wetlands.

This is a turning point. There is an appetite on Capitol Hill for Gulf Recovery Act. The Mississippi River is going to have to be redirected into the marshlands. And BP and TransOcean and other, you know, operations, Cameron, other companies are going to have to pay up to $10 billion and $15 billion for breaking national acts.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right.

BRINKLEY: In addition, for offshore drilling in the Gulf, Anderson, there will be a conservation excise tax, that yes, there will be offshore drilling, but Louisianans will start getting some of the revenue to stay in state.

CARVILLE: If -- if the President does that, I will be the biggest supporter in the world. He will be beloved in Louisiana.

If he -- if he has a restoration act and the kind of things that Doug Brinkley is talking about, who Doug, by the way, lived here, his wife is from here. He knows exactly what he is talking about. If there is that kind of action from the White House and this President, then he'll, he'll go down, in my opinion, as one of the great presidents in history.

And I have not hesitated to criticize him. But if that kind of action is -- that -- that kind of thing starts to happen, that's going to be a very encouraging sign for south Louisiana, and for the country, too.

COOPER: And Doug, I mean, what percent -- I mean, you -- you -- you're saying this based on people you have talked to?

BRINKLEY: Yes.

And what is -- one of the reasons there's a frustration, because of the legalities of calling Tony Hayward and all, the -- the Obama administration has heard what's happening loud and clear. And you're going to have the full power of the administration going on the culpable parties.

All of these little articles start building up, the -- the one we talked about on the AP with the phony report about a -- they had their wildlife expert in 2009 for BP had actually died in 2005. Or, you know, it's just crazy stuff. It's all -- Markey and others are accumulating it.

Congress is going to go after BP, and they have now broken, as I said, Natural Resource Damage Act, Oil Spill Response Act. And in order to save the wetlands, which BP is responsible to, it's going to be -- the Army Corps of Engineers has directed it -- if you fly over, it's like a bird's foot. There are three channels.

We're now going to have to redirect Mississippi River sediment and flood the marshlands to try to save them. That will occur after this -- the well gets capped, the relief wells are built.

But, in the next year or two, this will be, for President Obama administration, I think something like a Tennessee Valley Authority or a Saint Lawrence Seaway under Dwight Eisenhower, a major public works act, with BP footing --

(CROSSTALK)

BRINKLEY: The bill.

COOPER: I got to say, I was -- I was -- it was kind of sad today being out with the governor and the National Guard folks who are out there with these rudimentary vacuums literally sucking up oil.

And they only have five of them. I mean and they've only taken this upon themselves. I mean, they're -- they're thinking outside the box.

CARVILLE: That's right.

COOPER: It doesn't seem like, on day 51, they should still be begging for nickels and dimes to be buying vacuum cleaners.

CARVILLE: But what it looks like is, we ought to just do things and then send them the bill, because if you say, can we do this, they are going to slow-walk him. Ok?

They say, oh, gee, it's like, you go ask your daddy, hey, can I go out there? Well, ask your mother. No, go ask your daddy.

They will slow-walk the thing to death. Come up with a way to have the administration and have people say, look, these guys are going to do this, and you're going to pay for it, because they got -- it's no doubt that they will slow -- well, oh, no, you can only have five, and you've got to go check with the Corps of Engineers, and you've got to go check with this person, and go -- go see the Interior Department, and go see the -- the Homeland Security.

And they've got to come up with a way to expedite this. And, by the way, if it takes an act of Congress, then do it. They went at 1:30 in the morning for Terri Schiavo. Well, then go in at 1:30 in the morning and change the act to save the entire Gulf Coast.

I mean, move. Get -- let's get this thing done.

And I -- I can't say enough good about Congressman Markey and Senator Boxer and Senator Nelson and others, who are really putting the heat to get this out. It's a shame we had to wait this long. But we got something now. And if -- if the President is doing the things that Doug is talking about, this is going to be -- this is something we need desperately in Louisiana.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: James Carville, I appreciate your time and Doug Brinkley as well. We'll talk to you again.

We are here all this week, probably all next week, and who knows. I may just start renting a place down here.

Up next: the people who say a company that made nearly $6 billion in the last quarter is nickel-and-diming them on money they promised them, money they need to -- to pay their mortgages, to pay the -- the notes on their boats.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: You know, we hear everywhere we go people with claims against BP, claims that the company keeps promising to pay in a timely fashion, and they say they are still waiting for checks.

They got President Obama's attention. They got Admiral Thad Allen's attention. He sent a letter, which he made public today, to BP CEO Tony Hayward, demanding -- quote -- "Complete ongoing transparency" -- unquote -- from BP on the claims process.

Now, to that end, Admiral Allen is demanding access to BP's database of claims as soon as possible. Now, it can't come soon enough down here.

Ed Lavandera is "Keeping Them Honest".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EILENE BOURGEOIS, BOURGEOIS CHARTERS: I'm having to fax this paperwork again and again.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Its 9:00 at night and Eilene Bourgeois is angry. She is faxing another round of financial paperwork to the BP claims officer. She's done this over and over for 30 days, fighting for money from BP.

(on camera): Do you feel like they're just dragging their feet?

E. BOURGEOIS: I'm not really sure exactly what they're trying to get, but I know that it's -- it's a long process, and entirely too long, because, next month, I don't know that I'll be able to pay my house note, because I'm sitting here with no money, no help from BP.

THEOPHILE BOURGEOIS, CHARTER FISHERMAN: So, all this paperwork here, we have got to take it, copy it, send it in.

LAVANDERA: Eilene and her husband, Theophile own a lucrative charter fishing business on the Louisiana Bayou South of New Orleans, but the fishing business has disappeared. They have received the initial $5,000 check from BP, but that doesn't begin to cover what they've lost. He has had to lay off all 10 of his employees and he estimates that he's lost almost $300,000 in summer business. But the bills keep coming.

Theophile Bourgeois says it costs almost $25,000 a month just to run the fishing lodge. BP, he says, is moving too slow, asking for detailed monthly financial statements dating back three years.

T. BOURGEOIS: So, right now, everything is on the table. What we're going to do is, we're going to help you out. We will do everything we can.

And it isn't working, meaning there's no payment received on the bayou yet. Mortgage is still coming, so the thing is, what do we do?

LAVANDERA: What do we do? It's a question you hear in nearly every marina and fishing village we visited: what do we do?

(on camera): BP says it has opened up some 39,000 claims across the Gulf Coast. And the company says it's also brought in some 531 adjusters to handle those claims. But that means each of those adjusters is handling almost 75 claims on their own. The manpower simply isn't enough to keep up.

(voice-over): BP says it's paid $48 million in claims already and vows to keep paying personal and business claims as long as the oil disaster keeps people out of work.

BOB FRYER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, BP: We will continue to be adding people, offices and resources as required, and we're committing the full resources of BP to make this process work for the people of Florida and for the other Gulf Coast states.

LAVANDERA: But it's not working for Eilene. The process is taking a stressful toll, and she worries the charter fishing business she and her husband have built the last 15 years might not survive the oil disaster.

E. BOURGEOIS: I don't want to lose my home, you know, or -- or anything, for that matter. But I know that, if we don't get some help soon, that we will definitely lose something.

LAVANDERA: At the Bourgeois Charter Fishing Lodge, the lights are out for the now.

T. BOURGEOIS: Turn out the lights, baby.

LAVANDERA: But these are rough times, and the hope is, they'll come on tomorrow and in the days and years ahead.

T. BOURGEOIS: Well, then you'll going to win the pot here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You know, we -- we would like to ask BP, you know, for their side of this, because it's easy to criticize. And, obviously, it's a very complex situation, judging what people should make.

What does BP say about -- about the holdup?

LAVANDERA: Well, they acknowledge they need to get more manpower on the ground. And you heard us mention there in the story that the claims are coming in so fast, though, that every time they get more adjusters on the ground here -- and we're doing the math on how many claims have been filed and how many adjusters they have. And it keeps working out to about the same.

So, for every adjuster, based on our math, there's 75 people they have to deal with. So, everyone we talk to says, I've got to call in. It's taking days and days, if I ever hear back from them. And that's obviously what --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: For some, it's tough, because, you know, some of -- its cash businesses, and, so, receipts are an issue. And tax receipts are an issue.

LAVANDERA: Right. I think a lot of these people are coming to the realization that, "Look, I'm a fisherman. It's not like we have w-2 forms and all this kind of thing.

It's going to be hard for them to prove what it is that they make in a given year, especially when it's -- this is where they make their money.

COOPER: Yes. A couple of weeks ago, Ed introduced us to a number of people whose livelihoods were in jeopardy because of the spill; people who are struggling just to pay the bills. Buggie Vegas is one of them. He owns a marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana. He joins us now on the phone.

So Buggie, when did you first put in a claim for your business and have you gotten any updates from BP since you filed it?

BUGGIE VEGAS, MARINA OWNER, GRAND ISLE, LOUISIANA (via telephone): We filed it about four weeks ago. We went in a lot -- we went back twice. They said they put us in a large claim loss and we still didn't hear nothing.

COOPER: I mean what's the impact been on you? How are you getting by?

VEGAS: Well, we're trying to get it to work. We're trying to switch over to the oil field which needs something -- but it's just not working right now. It's just -- if we don't get no claim in, you know, it will be tough.

COOPER: Have you got -- I know a bunch of folks got a $5,000 check and BP says they sent out another round of $5,000 checks. Can your business survive on a $5,000 check for a month?

VEGAS: No. When I walk outside, just trying to keep shelter, it costs us $5,000. Today my wife told me the $5,000 we got personally, we didn't get $5,000 for the business but personal check, $5,000, I wanted to frame it up and hang it in the marina. She took that away from me, she said we need it.

COOPER: What kind of stuff do you sell in the marina, just to get a sense of how it affected and impacted your business is?

VEGAS: Oh, we have a tackle shop -- a tackle shop of 38 years. Since the fishing closed, I mean, everything shut down. We didn't sell -- for Memorial weekend we didn't sell a rod and reel. That was nothing, no tackle. Nothing, nothing.

COOPER: So what's -- when you look -- when you think about the next day -- when you go to sleep at night, what goes through your mind?

VEGAS: I mean some days are better than others. When they shut that down, it just kills us. Everybody knows I'm here at 3:00 in the morning, ready to go. The workers are getting here before I was. It's just like a knife in your back. I don't think they understand what's going on, that's the problem.

COOPER: Yes. Buggie, by the way, you have the coolest name I've heard in a long time, Buggie Vegas.

VEGAS: Well, Cooper is not bad.

COOPER: It's not bad. It's no Buggie Vegas, though. Buggie, I look forward to meeting you. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet your daughter tonight. I look forward to meeting her later on in Grand Isle.

Appreciate you being with us tonight. I hope things work out for you quickly.

Ed Lavandera as always; thanks so much Ed.

Again, I just want to mention we invited BP executives to come on this program. We do this every night and again, they said no, not for the first time. In case you missed it, take a look.

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COOPER: 360 has repeatedly tried to get this guy, BP's chief, CEO, Tony Hayward, onto the program. He's passed repeatedly. At this point, I want to invite anyone from BP on this program.

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COOPER: Well, every night for weeks, we have invited BP to come on the program. Every night, they have declined.

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COOPER: After weeks of telling us, no thanks, BP tonight agreed to answer our questions.

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COOPER: We have been asking for a long time for somebody. We finally got somebody last night. And I guess -- I don't know -- we didn't get him again tonight.

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COOPER: We should point out that we invited BP to be on this program today, but they declined.

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COOPER: The invitation stands. We interviewed a top official a couple of days ago. We haven't heard from them since.

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COOPER: For weeks now, literally weeks, we invited BP's CEO, Tony Hayward to come on 360. Again today, the answer was no. He does the morning shows. Maybe he doesn't want to stay up late.

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COOPER: Now, BP doesn't come on this program for some reason, though we invite them to every single night.

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COOPER: As always, we invited BP executives to come on the program tonight. We invite them every single night. Other than the one time they have shown up, they -- they basically don't return our phone calls anymore.

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COOPER: We invited executives from BP to come on the program tonight. They once again declined. As always, the invitation stands. Again, I will wake up early. Tony Hayward loves to appear apparently on morning shows. I will happily wake up very early in the morning just to talk to him.

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COOPER: I invite anybody from BP or the government to -- to, you know, inform the American public and the world, frankly, is watching right now what is occurring, and I can't understand a reason why they wouldn't.

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COOPER: As always, we invite him on this program. We invite any BP official on this program. They have yet to take up our invitation for the last several weeks.

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COOPER: As always, we should point out. We invited BP executives to come on the program again tonight. They, of course, said no.

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COOPER: Again, we invite them on the program, as you saw there. BP did give us one interview, which we appreciated, one on May 19th. We'll keep asking; we hope they change their mind.

Up next, he won't come on this program, but BP's chief operating officer did give an interview to CNN's, John Roberts. John is here to tell us what he said.

Also ahead, our exclusive interview with some of the wives of the rig disaster survivors and what they think about BP.

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MECCAH BOYNTON-BROWN, WIFE OF BP EXPLOSION SURVIVOR: When you think of BP and TransOcean, I just feel like they don't care. Nobody stepped up to say, "Are you ok? What can we do to help you?"

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This is our third week in the Gulf, to keep you informed and try to hold BP's feet to the fire as well as public officials. We've been reporting, we've repeatedly tried to get the CEO, Tony Hayward on 360. He's apparently not interested. So we're now basically reaching out to any one at BP to come on and talk to us, but so far no takers.

But BP today did grant my colleague, John Roberts, an interview with the chief operating officer, Doug Suttles. John just got back and joins me now.

How did it go?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it went really well. We basically have spent the afternoon with Doug Suttles. He took us out to the area where the accident happened.

We went to the DD3, the development driller three, which is the rig that's drilling the very first relief well and got a look around and got to talk to some of the folks and talked with Suttles extensively.

I can tell you, first of all, just talking about what you and Tom Foreman were discussing a little while ago, Suttles does agree there is oil in the water. It is, as Tom was saying, a definition of what is a plume.

COOPER: It is a plume.

ROBERTS: Are there large strings of oil or is there evidence that there are hydrocarbons in the water from this well that are dispersed within the water column and on that point he says yes, indeed, there are. He tries to dissuade us from this notion that there are large strings or, quote, "plumes" of oil throughout the water.

I know that yesterday, you were also talking at length about this new HD video --

COOPER: Right.

ROBERTS: -- that was just released a couple of days after the riser was cut; you see very high quality video, all of that oil and gas flowing out of the top of the blowout preventer. And why it took BP so long to release that video.

When we were aboard the DD3 today, I asked Suttles why it was it that it took days to release that video. Here's what he told me.

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ROBERTS (on camera): The question that's asked in the past 24 hours is, why it took so long for BP to release those high-definition pictures of the sheared off riser from the top of the blowout preventer? Can you explain why? Our understanding is, it wasn't until the government actually asked for that video that you released it.

DOUG SUTTLES, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, BRITISH PETROLEUM: The challenge we have as you can see these big vessels right here. That's what actually has -- that runs these robotic submarines. They actually capture that data right there so we don't -- the high- definition videos are not on shore.

We actually beam lower definition to shore. The high-definition stuff is captured on DVDs here. So we actually have to fly those in. And get those people.

But I can tell you since very early on, and it will be -- I can't remember the exact date, day three or day four, everyone associated with this event, all the government groups and BP and industry groups were able to see the videos from these remote vehicles we're operating.

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ROBERTS: Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said yes, indeed, they did have access to the videos, if and when they wanted them. But I should mention that this idea that it took so many days to get the video off of the boats, all I can say is that there are helicopters going out to all of those rigs, all of those boats every day.

COOPER: Every single day.

ROBERTS: Every single day. If somebody wanted to put a video on-board one of those helicopters and sent it back they certainly could have. I know that when we dropped down in the DD3, we had to wait for a helicopter that was already there to lift off.

But it was fascinating though being out on that rig, talking to people from TransOcean. Because it's so easy when you look at this through the prism of distance to say, on one hand, you have the fishermen and you have the tourism industry and you have the ecology and the environment. And on the other hand, you have the big bad oil industry.

I can tell you all of those people that I talked to on the rig today from TransOcean, who are down 13,000 feet now with that relief well digging down basically five miles to hit something this big to try to kill that well, their hearts are really in it.

Many of them are local people, they live along the Gulf; they don't want to see this whole place messed up. They are making it a point of both pride and duty to try to hit that kill well in the first shot.

COOPER: And my point is all along had been one, BP is doing a disservice to the people by not allowing them to tell their stories, by not allowing media more access on to this rig except very occasionally. To Doug Suttles' point, it's not a question of like the media not seeing these pictures. I mean the fact that one of the flow rate scientists, Ira Leifer, who I interviewed yesterday, just didn't get this high-resolution video until yesterday.

I mean this is the man who the government has asked to determine the flow rate which is affecting all the people here. His answer is a little -- seems disingenuous to say, well, we provided it to plenty of people. They didn't provide it to one of the guys on the flow rate team and theoretically the other people in the flow rate team.

ROBERTS: And people who do study the science of particle velocimetry can look at that.

COOPER: Right. And you need an accurate picture.

ROBERTS: And get a pretty good assessment of the amount of oil that's coming out of there.

COOPER: Yes. I look forward to more of the interview tomorrow night. John thanks.

ROBERTS: All right. You bet. Good to see you.

COOPER: You can get a little sleep, at least. Long day.

You can see the rest of John's interview with Doug Suttles tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" starting at 6:00 Eastern time.

Coming up next on the program: the wives of some of the survivors of the DeepWater Horizon explosion.

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COOPER: All this week, we've been bringing you our exclusive interviews with a group of survivors from the DeepWater Horizon rig.

In our candid and emotional conversation, we're learning details about what exactly happened on the doomed rig back on April 20th. The crews suffered, so did their families.

We sat down with the wives of three of the survivors who were telling us about the fear and not knowing for hours if their husbands were alive or dead. It's an exclusive interview, a partnership between the CNN special investigations unit and 360.

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COOPER (voice-over): It was just dawn about 5:45 when the phone awoke Angela Hopkins Jacobs. She didn't know that eight hours earlier, 50 miles out in the Gulf, the DeepWater Horizon had exploded. Her husband, Matt, worked on the rig.

ANGELA HOPKINS JACOBS, WIFE OF BP OIL RIG SURVIVOR: The lady said this is so-and-so with TransOcean, I lost it because I knew something was wrong. She said that, "We've had to evacuate the rig."

I was hysterical. I said, "Is he ok, is he ok?" She said, "I don't know any details. I can't tell you anything." I just lost it. My son was asking, what's wrong, what's wrong? And I said -- I couldn't, you know, speak.

COOPER: As the platform fire raged, Matt was waiting to be lowered, from the rig in a lifeboat. The inferno, the damage so intense, he was certain he wouldn't make it out alive. MATTHEW JACOBS, BP OIL RIG SURVIVOR: I prayed for my family to let God know that I love my wife and I love my kids. And that he would help me and everybody else get off the rig safely.

The whole time, you know, it's going through my mind, I will never see my family again because this is it. You know, we're done.

COOPER (on camera): You were sure that was it for you?

JACOBS: Yes, sir.

A. JACOBS: I had started calling hospitals down in Louisiana, Alabama, because I heard on the news they were taking some of the injured to the hospitals there. They had no record of him being at the hospital. So, you know, at that time, I'm thinking, well, he's not injured. I don't know if he's dead.

That same morning, no one from the company had contacted Daniel Barron's wife, Amanda. She hadn't heard about the catastrophe and then her brother called.

AMANDA COOPER-BARRON, WIFE OF OIL RIG SURVIVOR: He just goes, "What rig does Dan work on again?" And I said, "DeepWater Horizon, why?" He said, "I thought it sounded too familiar." And I'm like, what, why do you need to know? What's going on? He goes, "His rig has exploded."

DANIEL BARRON III, BP OIL RIG SURVIVOR: Can you imagine what our wives were going through? She didn't get a call until 2:00 that afternoon. Basically, it was like, "Hey, this is TransOcean, we want to let you know your husband's on the boat." She's like, "Oh, my God, you know, what happened?" "That's all we can tell you. We just want to let you know he's on the boat."

She doesn't know if I'm hurt, injured, burned; she doesn't know anything.

COOPER (voice-over): Doug Brown's wife, Mecca, did get a call in the middle of the night.

M. BROWN: I was told he was injured. There was really no other information that was given at the time. I was told that he was going to be taken to a hospital but not knowing what hospital and what state. Nobody contacting me telling me where he was going and so I really upset a lot of emergency rooms in the south calling hospital after hospital after hospital for hours trying to figure out where my husband was.

DOUG BROWN, BP OIL RIG SURVIVOR: I had fractured my leg, and bruised some nerves, did some damage under my kneecap and pulled some ligaments as well as some mild brain injury.

COOPER: That afternoon, after a desperate morning on the phone, trying to find Doug, Mecca got another call from TransOcean.

M. BROWN: I did receive a very rehearsed, I would probably put that -- that's my best term for it, very rehearsed -- "There was an incident, we have no further information at this time, we'll call you when we know something else." Click.

COOPER: All three wives say TransOcean seemed totally unprepared, just not able to handle a crisis the size of the DeepWater Horizon.

M. BROWN: I don't think the men and women that are out on rigs currently are really ultimately safe. To ask my husband to go back out there, I'd rather work five part-time jobs to make ends meet than to ask him to put his life on the line.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we saw reaction from TransOcean to our reporting. Just moments ago, the company sent a statement. It reads, "TransOcean's first commitment has always been the safety and well- being of its people." The statement goes on to say, "Immediately following the news of the tragic accident on April 20th, TransOcean family support groups were dispatched to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to receive rescued crew members and support their families in every way they could." They conclude, "This continues to be the top focus of the company and the entire TransOcean family."

COOPER: Also tonight. One simple idea: see how trash is being turned into art when 360 continues.

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COOPER: Sometimes one simple thing is all that it takes to improve the lives of thousands of people. Take one woman working for New York's Department of Cultural Affairs. She tried to get companies to donate their unused supplies so she can help struggling artists. But 30 years later, artists aren't the only ones benefiting from her idea.

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MEREDITH FARRELL, CHILD LIFE SPECIALIST: Oh, you like Bratz.

COOPER: Nine-year-old Cynthia loves coloring. So art therapist, Meredith Farrell makes sure she has lots of markers to use.

FARRELL: What color are you using?

COOPER: Her job, easing the trauma of Cynthia's hospital stay.

FARRELL: Good choice.

COOPER: What Cynthia doesn't realize is how few choices there would be without the help of a place where Meredith can get supplies for free, materials for the arts.

FARRELL: The fact that it's here and does save us money allows for our budgets to do more programming for the children and do more; we get more bang for our buck. HARRIET TAUB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS: We were green when green was just a color.

COOPER: Created in 1978, the New York City funded program allows companies like Kate, Spade and Coach to donate materials they know longer need and would other toss in the trash and give it to people who desperately need them: artists, public school teachers, cultural groups and non-profit organizations.

Melissa Boronkas, runs Girls' Quest, helping girls from underserved communities. Today, she's shopping for summer camp supplies.

MELISSA BORONKAS, GIRLS' QUEST: Being able to come here and get more art supplies and some of the office supplies that we need. That gives us more money in our food budget. It gives us more money in our maintenance budget. It gives us more money in our staff line so we can pay our staff a little bit more.

COOPER: One simple thing providing two outcomes.

TAUB: Lots and lots of the items that you find in our warehouse would go into the dump, in the land fill. And so our goal is two- fold: it's to prevent that from happening and also support arts and culture at the same time.

COOPER: For every dollar spent, $6 is given away, an after thought for founder Angela Fremont who started with one donated refrigerator from the local zoo and now has 4,000 members.

ANGELA FREMONT, FOUNDER, MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS: We didn't think of it as a green thing. We thought of it as a thing for artists and arts organizations.

COOPER: Bringing out the creative touch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The wide variety of art materials here that you bring back to the kids and just have them -- use their imaginations for many things can be a lot of fun.

COOPER: Even in budding artists like Cynthia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Programming note, tomorrow on CNN, don't miss a two-hour special investigation on Wayne Williams who terrorized Atlanta 30 years ago. Evidence connected him to more than two dozen murders of young adults and kids. CNN's Soledad O'Brien talked about that evidence with an FBI agent and Williams, who maintains his innocence. It's his first television interview in years.

Here's a preview.

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SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: FBI agent, Mike McComus (ph) rushed to the scene. The driver was standing by the highway. The young man was Wayne Williams, about to turn 23. McComus invited Williams over to his car.

MIKE MCOMIS, FBI AGENT: He got in the car and I said, do you know why we're here? He immediately said, yes, it's about the missing children. That kind of stunned me. And I said, what do you know about that? He goes, well, he said, I don't think the various news agencies are covering it adequately, do you?

O'BRIEN: You said I know this is about those boys?

WAYNE WILLIAMS, CONVICTED FOR ATLANTA KILLINGS: Correct. That's what I said.

O'BRIEN: Pretty damning statement, don't you think?

WILLIAMS: No. I mean the perception in Atlanta was at the time, kids were missing. And I think, if I'm not mistaken the perception was a lot of young males were missing. And that's what I asked, I said, "This is about those kids, the boys or something like that, isn't it?"

O'BRIEN: Williams agreed to let McComus search his station wagon. On the floor in the front of the back seat, he saw --

MCOMIS: There was a nylon cord. The best I could describe the nylon cord was a ski rope type, the woven type. It was my guess, about 24 inches long.

WILLIAMS: No.

O'BRIEN: Williams denies there was any such cord.

WILLIAMS: Because if that rope could have been in the station wagon that night, I'm sure they would have taken it.

MCOMIS: The fact I didn't confiscate it doesn't make it go away, it was there.

O'BRIEN: The nylon cord would never be seen again.

MCOMIS: It could have been the murder weapon, as far as I know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You can see Soledad's two-hour special, "THE ATLANTA CHILD MURDERS" right here on CNN, Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

That does it for this edition of 360.

Thanks for watching. We'll be in the Gulf tomorrow again.

"LARRY KING" starts right now.