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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Oil Spill Gulf Coast Catastrophe; Fisherman Frustrated; Robert Redford's Call to Action; Deep Sea Drilling Moratorium; Return to the Wild
Aired June 21, 2010 - 2300 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot happened over the weekend and today.
You probably heard by now, that BP's CEO Tony Hayward jetted off to Europe this weekend to attend a yacht race. That's a picture of Hayward on a yacht with sunglasses and a ball cap. Of course, he promised to stay in the Gulf until the leak was fixed. He made that promise weeks ago. He broke it just this weekend; he went yachting.
Today of course is day 63 of the BP disaster. Day 63 and each new day brings with it new revelations, new reasons to feel that the true story of what has happened here and is still happening here is only now starting to be revealed.
We begin tonight with an internal document from BP, a memo released to Congress that seems to contradict all that talk by BP about how they weren't estimating the flow of oil, a memo which seems yet again to indicate BP's lack of transparency.
Now, last week we showed you a memo which Senator Grassley got a hold of, which seemed to indicate BP had made a worst case estimate of the leak at about 60,000 barrels. Well, this new internal BP memo also discussed a worst case scenario, but this BP memo says the worst case leak could be as high as 100,000 barrels a day -- a 100,000 barrels.
Now remember, when this began, BP said the leak was just 1,000 barrels a day. They never said, "We have internal estimates that say it could be 60,000 or even 100,000." If fact, even weeks into this disaster, when independent experts said the leak could be 70,000 barrels, BP said that was inaccurate, alarmist they called it.
Time and time again BP officials and government officials gave the lowest possible estimates of the oil gushing into the Gulf. 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 that a range of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day.
ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDANT: Twelve to 19,000 and 12,000 to 25,000.
We should be in a range of somewhere between 40,000 or 50,000 barrels a day with that system once it's in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the way it's been rising over now. But it appears now that during all those early news conferences that BP had and all the interviews they gave, they had internal estimates that it could be worse; much, much worse than the thousand barrels a day they said.
Congressman Ed Markey got hold of this BP estimate. I talked to him earlier this evening.
COOPER: Congressman Markey, the 100,000 barrel a day, worst case estimate that you revealed was apparently made before the spill. Senator Grassley released a document last week which seems to be -- it seems to be another internal BP document that indicated they also had a worst case estimate of 60,000. This was made sometime after the spill, although it was undated.
But what both these documents seem to show, is that regardless of the actual number this company, BP, did have internal estimates of the spill potential, which they never publicly admitted.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We now know in retrospect that when BP in the first week was saying that the spill was only 1,000 per day that they had an internal document in the first week that said it was 1,000 to 14,000 barrels per day. They did not any -- let anyone know that.
When it went up to 5,000 barrels per day, they still didn't let anyone know that. And now it's gone up to 19,000, 35,000, 60,000 barrels per day. And this document which I released yesterday is one that basically says the worst, worst case scenario is 100,000 barrels a day.
But I think it's important for the American people to know that BP has such a document because that will help us to ensure that we keep the pressure on BP and that we're also properly prepared.
COOPER: And all along early on the first week -- weeks one and two they were saying, well look, it doesn't -- we're not measuring the flow, we're not focused on that, we're focused on fixing the leak, it doesn't matter how much it's flowing, because we're -- we're planning for a worst case scenario.
But I mean that seems not to be the case, based on a number of these documents which have now been released.
MARKEY: Yes, they were not preparing for a worst case scenario. They didn't have the boom. They didn't have the skimmers. They didn't put in place the protective equipment for the health of the workers who would be out there cleaning up this mess. They were not prepared. And in the hearing that I conducted last week, it was very clear that none of the companies would be prepared who were drilling out in the Gulf of Mexico.
They thought a rig couldn't sink, and as a result they never had to put in place the response. And from day one after this spill started, they were more concerned about their liability because they pay a fine per barrel of oil, than they were about sending out the proper warning about how catastrophic this could become.
COOPER: Now, even though BP won't come on this program, we do try to present their side of the story here. They say that this 100,000 barrel of oil per day estimate that you revealed applied only if the well's blowout preventer was removed, and since there are no plans to remove the blowout preventer, the number is basically irrelevant.
MARKEY: Well, last week, at the end of the week, BP announced that by the middle of July, they will have the capacity out on the ocean to collect 80,000 barrels of oil a day. And Admiral Thad Allen at the end of the week, last week said that there is no knowledge right now of the condition of the fragility of the well bore going down into the ocean.
So if that's the case, I think that while they might not think that this is a high probability that is BP, I think the American people should know that there is a worst case scenario of 100,000 barrels a day, which is four million gallons of oil a day going into the Gulf of Mexico.
COOPER: Tony Hayward, as we've talked about on this program before, had publicly promised not to leave the Gulf until this was fixed. I mean, he didn't have to make that promise; that's something he offered up early on in his sort of his PR offensive.
And then to hear that not only did he leave, but he went to Europe this weekend but to show up at a yachting event of all places. When you heard that, did -- I mean, could you believe he would chose to do that of all things?
MARKEY: I guess he must have felt that it was time for him to go and to go for a nice sail on an ocean that BP has yet to despoil. I can understand that from his perspective.
But I think from the perspective of the people in the Gulf of Mexico, it only confirms what they have been thinking about him and BP from the beginning, which is, if you kick them in the heart, you're going to break your toe. They showed no concern in the beginning. They were dragged to the table to put up the $20 billion to compensate the families who are going to be harmed. And that's why we have to stay on them every single day until the well is plugged and everyone, including the people in the Gulf and the ocean, are made whole. COOPER: Congressman Markey, I appreciate your time, thanks.
MARKEY: I'm glad to be here, thank you.
COOPER: You can join the live chat which is now underway at AC360.com.
Coming up next: BP's pledge to pay the victims back, we're "Keeping Them Honest". $20 billion in escrow and about to make those devastated hole again. And the burden may be on BP, the people we spoke to say they're the ones suffering and waiting for the money. That story ahead.
Also later, Robert Redford joins us, my interview with him.
And we're in an animal rehabilitation center where turtles affected by the spill are being treated. You'll notice a big uptick in turtles coming in. Rob Marciano shows us how they are being treated, coming up.
COOPER: On June 7th, BP's Managing Director Bob Dudley, said the company is quote, "Determined to make people whole on their losses." Well as of tonight, BP has paid out about $104 million on claims to those affected by the disaster.
Now, BP promises it's going to pay for all legitimate claims. That's the promise but as one business owner told us, it comes with plenty of frustrations.
Here's Chris Lawrence.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It took 40 years for Stu Scheer to build his business, running charter fishing boats for tourists in the Gulf. Now, it's all falling apart. Between the oil spill that shut down business and haggling with BP over his claim.
STUART SCHEER, CHARTER BOAT CAPTAIN: Excuse me. You would wonder how a guy my age, at 260 pounds, could be emotional.
But, you know, it's like I told you. Saltwater runs through my veins. I mean, it's all I have done. It's all I have ever wanted to do is fish.
LAWRENCE: Stu walked into the local claims office, but BP classified him large loss and moved his claim 90 miles away. He only speaks with his adjuster by phone.
SCHEER: They wanted 2007, '08, '09 returns. They wanted my logbooks. They wanted my bank statements. They wanted all my licenses, P&L statement.
LAWRENCE (on camera): So, you laid out --
SCHEER: -- everything.
LAWRENCE: -- all of this paperwork?
LAWRENCE: To the -- to the number?
SCHEER: To the penny, virtually. This is what I calculated from May 9th through the end of December that I had on the books, actual books, not projections, not people still calling me.
LAWRENCE: And when you itemized this cost for BP, you even accounted for -- that you wouldn't be using fuel --
SCHEER: That's right. So, if my boat didn't leave the dock, I wouldn't have fuel, bait, rod, reels, ice, contract labor. My gross was $162,800, less expenses, daily boat expenses, came out to $107,982. My bookings for this year amounted to a gross net of $107,000 and they basically offered me $33,000.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): He turned down that offer and is now haggling to make up the difference.
(on camera): Are you any more confident in the government running the claims process as you were with BP?
SCHEER: Well, again, like I said, there's always an air of optimism. And the fact that the Obama administration has gotten BP to put the $20 billion in escrow and supposedly a new regime is going to come in and handle the claims, yes, there's optimism.
I hope it works out, but I'm suspicious.
LAWRENCE (on camera): Unfortunately, the bottom line is, he's probably going to have to take that initial offer, and then re-file additional claims every few months while his boats are out of business.
We did call BP. Now, they don't comment on individual claims, but, so far, they have cut more than 30,000 checks and paid out more than $100 million.
Chris Lawrence, CNN, New Orleans.
COOPER: Well, let's talk about this with Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish.
I mean a guy like that, who has all the documentation, earned $107,000 or so -- should have earned that, and gets an offer of $30,000.
BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: Yes.
What we have asked -- and I know they're meeting with a lot of our marine owners this week. And we're very concerned to see how that works out. And if it is a large claim, and they can't put all the money up, they want to do some checking, we have asked them to meet their obligation.
If it's $50,000 a month to the bank, and it's going to take them 90 days, pay them the $50,000 a month while they work out the claim. Don't make them sweat it out until you come back and either make them whole or sit down and work out the difference.
So, if their bills are $50,000 a month, and you have got a $400,000 claim and you want to take 90 days to review all the data and come back to them, we're asking them to step up to the plate and make them pay their -- give them the money to pay their bills monthly. If it's 90 days, if it takes an extra month, at least that person isn't going bankrupt.
NUNGESSER: He's feeding his family and he's paying his electrical bill, his insurance, and he's keeping above water.
COOPER: Ken Feinberg obviously is now the guy who is going to be taking over all of this, taking it from BP.
Do you have a sense of the timing on all that -- I mean, we're going to talk to him tomorrow on the program, but of when they actually may be -- you know, have folks in place who are ready to actually --
NUNGESSER: No. And I tried to call the governor today, because I know the governor met with him.
I meet with BP at 10:00 tomorrow morning. We have a lot of local businesses that have meetings in Plaquemines Parish this week, all the way through Friday. And we want to do some follow-up and make sure there's some kind of payment put in place right away, that they're not waiting 30, 45, 60 days, and sweating it out to see if BP is going to come back.
COOPER: I know this weekend you actually went out on the water and found a bunch of folks -- contractors, who weren't actually out there working? What happened?
NUNGESSER: Well, what happened was, they were called to stand down. The meteorologists said there was bad weather. It was out of Venice. It wasn't out of Myrtle Grove.
We sucked up 300,000, 400,000 gallons of oil from about 5:30 in the morning to 10:00. But I think we got that fixed. Pat Ireland (ph), our Coast Guard guy, will be at my office tomorrow morning. They have already starting moving a quarters' barge out there.
Those people will now be out there living on the water. And we'll come up with a horn device. We don't want anyone to get electrocuted by lightning, but we need to stay out on the water and work every minute we can.
COOPER: So, before, they were -- people were coming back and forth from the water taking up a lot of time?
NUNGESSER: And any time there was bad weather, they came in. They have to be able to -- like we talked about the jack-up boats, there's got to be a safe place for them to go, 15 minutes out the way, get out of bad weather, and go back to work.
COOPER: Now, a jack-up boat is basically, what -- it's like a barge that people can go and sleep on.
NUNGESSER: And living quarters and get out of the bad weather when it -- because we have bad weather every day --
NUNGESSER: -- during the summertime.
COOPER: Well, we were out one day on the water. A storm came in. And we went basically to a barge and just hung out there for a while.
And that needs to be out there. Wherever there's oil, wherever we are fighting this war, we need to have those quarters out there, and they agreed to do it, and that will be moved tomorrow.
So, we appreciate their efforts. And I think we've got some people on the ground that are really starting to see the sense of urgency, so we're real glad about that.
COOPER: So, you're starting -- are you more optimistic today than --
NUNGESSER: I really am.
We had a meeting with some people from Washington on Sunday. Today, we met all day with BP and the Coast Guard. I have been on the phone with Pat. He's going to be there in the morning.
We have already seen all the vacuum devices approved through the process. They're on their way down from Canada. We'll have more suction devices than ever in the water next week.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how many you're going to have? Because the governor has said he would love to see 100 of them.
NUNGESSER: Well, we bought everything they have, 20-something and we have asked them for a production schedule. These things work. They suck up the oil. They're quick. They can get in close where the birds are, so we can save a lot of wildlife, a lot of marshland. And we seem to be getting the support from the Coast Guard, so we're real happy about that.
COOPER: What needs to happen next? I mean, what -- NUNGESSER: Well, I think we need to -- we need to tighten these organizational skills -- in the marsh, in the bays, on the outer barrier islands.
We also have four wheelers coming with suction devices to work the islands, so we can get that oil before the tide changes and it has a chance to go out back out to sea. And then we're also waiting for the additional equipment that they're going to bring from overseas to work the oil from offshore. And we're hoping that deployment is going to happen soon.
COOPER: All right.
NUNGESSER: So, we're optimistic, and we think we've got a team we can work with on the ground now.
COOPER: All right.
Billy, I appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
NUNGESSER: Thank you so much.
COOPER: All right, Billy Nungesser.
A lot still coming up tonight. We're going to take a look -- we have an interview with Robert Redford, on the "Big 360 Interview," what he says about the spill and the close link between Washington and oil companies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: So I think there's so many disasters that have occurred in the past when we have been lied to about the fact that they would not happen. They have happened.
Why have they happened? Because of the collusion between government, Congress, and the big oil companies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Also tonight: an update on pelicans rescued from the Gulf found covered in oil, in dire need of help -- tonight, some good news on that to report.
We'll bring it to you when 360 continues, live from Louisiana.
COOPER: And welcome back. We're live in Louisiana.
A reminder: there's still time, if you want to make a donation to help those impacted by the Gulf oil spill. Larry King, as you know, hosted the telethon tonight. The phone lines are still open. You can see the number at the bottom corner of the screen.
Robert Redford was one of many stars who took part in the telethon. He says this environmental catastrophe was perhaps necessary to, quote, "Wake us up." I talked with Robert Redford earlier tonight.
COOPER: As you look at BP's response to this spill, what stands out? I mean -- I think, for a lot of people on the ground here, it's the lack of transparency that we have seen. What surprises you about the way BP has handled this so far?
What I'm kind of interested in here is, you know, there's a lot being said about BP, and there's a lot of truth that's finally bubbling up to the surface. But what I'm more interested in is -- is looking at it from a historical point of view and trying to connect some dots about how we got here.
And, you know, when you stop and think about BP's promises and the consequence of the collusion between government, Congress and big oil companies, what you get is what we've got: a failed energy policy -- a terrible energy policy -- that allowed this to happen.
And so, I think, I'm interested in seeing if we can get to the public, connect the dots as to how we got here because we -- there have been other disasters despite what they're saying that have happened.
COOPER: It's interesting because -- I mean, Senate Republicans told the President last week, look, focus on the oil spill right now, not an energy bill. They say the President can't afford any distractions until this is under control.
You say the opposite. You say this is the time to focus on an energy bill.
REDFORD: Look, I think one of the reasons we're in this problem is because we have not only have a failed energy policy, but we have an energy policy -- because of the way it was designed by who it was designed by, Cheney. It's sick and it's dangerous. And any energy policy that's designed behind closed doors with oil, gas and coal companies is bound to end up being a disaster of some sort.
So, I think, we need a new energy policy. And I don't think it's next week, or next year or even -- it's now. If we miss this opportunity, we're missing an incredible opportunity. And history will probably tell us that.
So, get rid of this energy policy. It's a disaster.
COOPER: Do you think President Obama has shown leadership in that direction? I mean, he talked -- he didn't really give any details last week about what he wants to see in an energy bill. Were you satisfied with what you heard? Or are you looking for more specifics?
REDFORD: No, I wasn't satisfied with what I heard. I'm somewhat sympathetic to what the guy's dealing with because he had all these other issues that were paramount when this thing came forward. And I don't think he or the administration was quite prepared. Nor do I think BP was prepared. Nobody was prepared.
I think he's trying to do the best he can, but I think he's got to do more. And I think if he thinks that he's going to push something through with any kind of bipartisanship, I think it should be clear by now that there's so many voices coming at him from the other side -- the voices that, for me, is coming out of the ice age, you know, that he should forget about that.
He better grab this moment. And I think the public is going to have to push him to push Congress. But he better push them.
COOPER: Obviously, around here, the drilling moratorium, the deepwater drilling moratorium is hugely unpopular. There are a lot of jobs at stake here, there's people suing in courts to try to get this thing overturned -- although that seems unlikely to happen. We'll have a ruling probably by tomorrow.
You, obviously, I'm guessing, support the moratorium. Why?
REDFORD: Well, I support the moratorium, because I think there's so many disasters that have occurred in the past when we've been lied to about the fact that they would not happen. They have happened. Why have they happened? Because of the collusion between government, Congress and the big oil companies.
So, I think -- look, we're not going to get rid of oil. I mean, we should accept that. I accept it. I worked in an oilfield as a kid.
But I think what we're asking for now is a new energy policy. And I think that -- I'm totally sympathetic to the people in the Gulf who have lost their jobs, their way life, environmental devastation and so forth. I understand the voices that want to not have a moratorium because they think it's going to help jobs.
But I think the first thing that should happen is that we have to figure out -- first of all, make sure BP pays every dime that's owed to these people. My heart goes out to the people on the Gulf. And they need to be paid. And Obama has to push them to do it.
Second, we got to figure out how it happened. Why did this happen when we were told over and over again it wouldn't happen?
COOPER: And in terms of oversight by the government -- I mean, clearly, the government both under the Bush administration and even under the Obama administration, have not done as much in terms of reforming MMS. I mean, MMS, which has now been renamed today, has essentially, you know, been kind of a lap dog.
REDFORD: It has. Look, all that stuff has come out, and it's painfully obvious what's happened -- the corruption that came with MMS as a result of Dick Cheney and how he engineered this whole thing.
You got to get rid of Cheney and every -- and all the horses he came in with. You got to get rid of his energy policy. It's bad for our health. It's bad for our economy. It's bad for our future. And I think the administration has to step up, get tough, get quick, and be very clear about what they're prescribing. I think they have to be very clear about why there should be some moratorium, like should Shell be allowed to drill up in the Alaskan refuge? No, not yet. We got to get some facts in order first.
COOPER: Robert Redford, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
REDFORD: You're welcome.
COOPER: Well, still ahead, we're going to talk more about the battle of drilling. The battle of the moratorium on deep water drilling goes to court tomorrow. A judge here in New Orleans may rule to reverse the Obama administration's moratorium.
We'll talk to Jeffrey Toobin about that.
Many people here, of course, depend on offshore drilling for their livelihoods. We'll try to see what the chances are of that actually being overturned tomorrow.
Also ahead, some of the most disturbing images we've seen since covering this disaster, birds covered in oil. You're probably used to seeing these pictures by now, although we'll never get used to it really. Now, some are getting a second chance at life.
We'll also take you to an animal rehabilitation center for a first- hand look at how turtles are now being treated. That's next.
COOPER: Another development in the Gulf oil disaster, a federal judge here in New Orleans may decide as early as Tuesday, tomorrow, whether to lift the Obama administration's temporary ban on deep water drilling. Supporters of the six-month moratorium say the ban is needed while the safety review continues into the oil rig disaster.
The proponents argue the region's economy has already been hurt because of the worst spill in history and that ban is yet another damaging blow because thousands of oil rig and supply workers can't do their jobs and has ripple effects on the rest of the economy. A lot at stake here in the moratorium battle.
Sorting it out tonight: CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin who joins us from New York.
Jeff, what the companies bringing this suit -- what do they have to prove to get the moratorium overturned?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: They have to prove that the action by the Obama administration was arbitrary and capricious; it was simply an irrational act to do this. That's a very tough standard to meet but that's what they have -- that's what they're trying to show. COOPER: And Bobby Jindal, the governor here, he filed a brief along with the plaintiffs, saying the moratorium basically will turn an environmental disaster into an economic catastrophe. Those were his words. That's really an economic argument he's making.
TOOBIN: That's right. It's important to remember that the judge has a very narrow function in this case. He doesn't have to decide whether it's a good idea to have this moratorium or not. Judge Feldman's (ph) job only is to decide whether the Obama administration was legally within its rights in establishing this moratorium. And it is legally within its rights as long as it acts in a rational way. That's a very broad standard.
The economic arguments that Bobby Jindal made, you know, 4,000 jobs lost directly, 10,000 jobs lost indirectly. Those are arguments to be made to the Obama administration saying, don't do this, it's a bad idea. I don't see how a court is going to take those arguments and say, well, that makes this beyond the pale legally.
COOPER: Yes. Essentially you're saying the judge isn't ruling on whether these rigs are safe or not, or whether that even matters. All he's ruling on is the state of mind that the President had when he made this decision?
TOOBIN: Well, it's not so much the state of mind -- about whether there is a reasonable justification, whether the act of establishing this moratorium is a reasonable response. And when you have an economic -- an environmental catastrophe like we've seen, shutting down these rigs for six months does not seem to me -- and I suspect will not seem to the judge -- as an irrational response.
Now, the companies and Bobby Jindal points out, that a lot of these rigs that are being shut down, have passed their safety inspections. So why shut them down? That means it's an irrational act to shut them down.
The government responds to that by saying, look, the DeepWater Horizon, it passed its safety inspections. That shows that the safety inspections aren't good enough. We need the six months to fix the system. That's an argument I think that's going to be very tough to respond to.
COOPER: So, you think the judge is going to leave the moratorium in place?
TOOBIN: I think it's very likely.
When it comes to these sorts or decisions where an administrative agency has a lot of discretion, judges are very reluctant to step in at the last minute and stop it because they figure the agency has the expertise. The law gives the agency a certain amount of discretion. It would take an extreme irrational act to get a judge to stop it. And a six-month moratorium -- and remember, it's only six months, it's not forever -- I think is not something that the judge -- that most judges would view as irrational.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin I appreciate it.
Joining me now is Shane Guidry, who's in the oil business. He runs a company called the Harvey Gulf. It services the oil and gas industry with supply boats. One hundred fifty workers of his workers in Florida are laid off already.
Obviously, you would argue that this is an irrational decision by the President to have this six-month moratorium?
SHANE GUIDRY, OWNER, HARVEY GULF: Absolutely. We certainly agree with that this was an irrational decision. It was a kneejerk reaction. I mean, you can't condone a whole industry for one man's human error. And one company made a human error and the rest of us are paying for it, it's just not right.
COOPER: And in terms of your business, I mean, your business is solely focused on serving deep water rigs?
GUIDRY: One hundred percent deep water. Yes.
COOPER: And -- I mean, there's thousands of platforms out there on the Gulf, there's 33 deep water rigs which are directly affected by this moratorium?
GUIDRY: Yes, that's correct. As well as 15 other potentially (ph) platforms that are situated in deepwater that have drilling rigs on board that can't even drill.
COOPER: Now, you know, around the country, you just heard from Jeff, a lot of people think, ok, well, a six-month moratorium is not that big a deal. It's not -- this is not forever, it's just a pause. It's not a permanent stop.
You argue what, that these rigs will leave?
GUIDRY: Well, it's -- depending what the government does. You have to remember, there are a lot of older rigs out there that are drilling. And the derricks cannot handle certain loads that the government may impose with the new BOPs that they're considering. They also can't handle additional weight with the shear ram (ph) because the drill floor is already so compact.
So, if the government comes out with ideas that are non-thinkable to be done or installed, then these rigs are going to leave forever. And there's about 16 of those that are older and more compact rigs. So, it's going to be a very, very long time before this industry gets back to where it was.
COOPER: And to those who argue that, look, you know, having, you know, two shearing rams or some of these reforms that they're talking about would actually improve safety, you would argue what?
GUIDRY: Well, I would argue that, you know -- I mean, we've drilled 4,000 deep water wells without anything like this. I mean, hardly any spills at all. Again, you know, you can't protect from human error. If somebody's going to not follow the drilling plan, not do it as submitted to MMS, you're going to have accidents. But if you follow the drilling plan, you do the right, safe course of action that everyone involved has agreed to do, you're not going to have a problem. It's human error that causes things to fail.
COOPER: And if this is in place for six months, what impact is that going to have on you and on the business?
GUIDRY: Well, you know, I have 10 boats. All they do was move the rigs. So, they're not on a long-term charter. They get used as needed. Those boats are going to be in a lot of trouble. I won't be able to keep those crews.
COOPER: BP has set aside $100 million for workers affected by the moratorium. But that's -- I mean, local estimates I saw by the state I think were some $300 million a month is what the impact is going to be.
GUIDRY: My payroll alone in 2009 for those 10 boats was $8.9 million. And I'm just a small company compared to everyone else out there.
COOPER: How concerned are you?
GUIDRY: I'm very concerned. I'm very, very concerned. I mean, I can see this happening. I could see this going on for 24 to 36 months. If that happens, you know, we have no choice but to let people go.
You know, I mean, we have investors to think about. We have returns to think about. We have survival of the company. We're in survival mode right now, and we have to survive this. And it's concerning.
COOPER: Shane Guidry, appreciate it.
GUIDRY: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
COOPER: Shane Guidry.
Ahead, second chance for brown pelicans rescued from the oil infested waters. We'll take you along as some of them are actually returned to the wild -- some good news there.
Also ahead: Larry King's star-studded telethon for the people affected by the disaster. If you want to help, it's not too late. We'll tell you how -- coming up.
COOPER: One of the most gut-wrenching images for a lot of people from this disaster in the Gulf has been pelicans covered in oil. Over the weekend, dozens of the giant birds got a second chance. They've been re-released into the wild.
Rob Marciano is not only there. He actually helped set some of them free. Here's his report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's an exciting day, isn't it, Dr. Mulcahey?
DR. DAN MULCAHEY, WILDLIFE VETERINARIAN: Yes. This is going to be the largest release to date of pelicans, that have been taken in as a result of oiling from the oil spill, and we're going to release up to 40.
MARCIANO (voice-over): Wildlife vet Dan Mulcahey leads a carefully selected team that gets these birds from rescue centers back into the wild.
MULCAHEY: It is all about the animals. And that's our goal.
MARCIANO: These animals spent the last few weeks being nursed back to health. Now, they're on a Coast Guard plane getting a second chance.
(on camera): I'm pretty excited about this flight. Here we go. Let's take these pelicans home.
(voice-over): We climb over the Louisiana wetlands en route to similar habitat in Texas, far away from the spill.
(on camera): We just got airborne and there is a sense of relief among the crew that everything went relatively smoothly getting these birds on board. But they know there is some urgency. They have to get these birds back on the ground and back in the water just as quickly as possible.
(voice-over): It's a pretty squeeze inside the plane, but the passengers seem remarkably calm.
We land in Rockport, Texas, where another team is anxiously waiting.
(on camera): So now the delicate -- expeditious process of unloading these birds. Twenty kennels need to come out and be unloaded into these vans and they'll be transported about 45 minutes away into a wildlife refuge that has a whole lot of other pelicans.
(voice-over): The bird-carrying caravan rolls toward the coast, in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the release point. The rest happens quickly. We carried the kennels to the water, raised the roof and release the pelicans.
How about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they troopers (ph) or what?
MARCIANO: These are wild animals and can be dangerous. So they've been reluctant to let me participate until now.
(on camera): We can do this, baby. This is exciting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready? MARCIANO: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
MARCIANO: Go to the bottom. Lift off the top.
(voice-over): Stubborn bird, giving me the stare down.
(on camera): These guys don't want to go.
MARCIANO: Come on, guys. You got it. I know you don't want to leave, but come on, guys.
(voice-over): Finally, these two take flight.
(on camera): That was the last one. That's just an incredible feeling.
Look at them. That's awesome.
COOPER: Rob, after all you've covered, it's great to actually see them re-released. You're at -- you're in Gulfport, Mississippi, right now, where they've actually seen a big uptick in the number of turtles coming in?
MARCIANO: They have. You know, we visited this place probably two months ago at this point. And now, things are certainly ramping up. But they get oiled mammals in here, and that would include dolphins. They haven't seen many of those that they've had to deal with, at least alive. But the turtles -- the number of turtles have ramped up.
We're inside the Institute for Marine Mammals Studies. And these are just some the turtles that have been brought in. Oh, look at that magnificent creature. There are so cool when you see them alive and in person, especially when they're taken out of the water.
I got a couple of handlers that are here with me. Megan and Becky handle these turtles on a daily basis.
Becky why don't you grab this one and tell us exactly what kind of turtle this one is.
Oh, yes, he's a flapper, that's for sure.
BECKY: This is a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.
BECKY: And they are endangered in the Gulf of Mexico. MARCIANO: And ok, so why -- how long has this particular animal been with you guys in rehabilitation? Is he going to snap at me if I get too close? He keeps moving.
BECKY: I'm sorry -- possibly, if you get close to his head. This guy has been with us for around two to three weeks.
MARCIANO: And what's the prognosis as far as how long he'll be with you before he's released back into the wild?
BECKY: Not really sure. It's actually up to our veterinarian, but the prognosis is very well.
MARCIANO: But he looks better in your opinion from when you first got him?
MARCIANO: He certainly looks incredible there.
So, compare that, guys, and I think we have some video of what these animals looked like when they're actually oiled, before they're brought to these facilities. And it's just -- it's just heart wrenching. So, to be able to see this transformation from when we rescued these animals to when they're released, in that pelican piece that we shot there yesterday was certainly an incredible experience for me.
And then to see these amazing creatures as well is quite unique.
All right. Megan is handling this little guy. He's a little feisty one as well. Becky, we had you mike, what kind of turtle is this?
MEGAN: This is a loggerhead sea turtle.
MARCIANO: So, this is pretty common in the Gulf of Mexico, is it not?
MEGAN: They are fairly common.
MARCIANO: All right. So, as far as the texture of the shell, how does it differ from, say, a loggerhead or the Kemp's Ridley?
MEGAN: They do have a fairly smooth shell. But this guy obviously has a bumpy shell.
MARCIANO: Gosh. I mean, he just looks like a dinosaur in many respects.
And then this little guy right here, I was going to pick him up before we came here. And you're like, he seems a little feisty, you want to keep your fingers away from his mouth, but the backside of his shell is so cool. Look at that, it's just like artwork back there.
What kind of animal is this?
MEGAN: This is a Hawksbill sea turtle. MARCIANO: And what are -- what are they known for typically in the Gulf of Mexico? I mean, they all do the same thing. They eat little fish, eat crabs, eat the oysters.
MEGAN: Exactly right. He eats all of those animals.
MARCIANO: Oh, he doesn't look too happy. Put him back. I'm sorry, guy. Sorry we did that to you.
Anyway, Anderson, so they got 17 right now here that they're rehabilitating. Across the Gulf of Mexico, there's over 100 that have been taken in. And there are a number of turtles that have been found dead. And that's the sad part of this story. And the numbers, as you well know, that we'll never know about that have perished in this oil spill. And that is the unseen toll for sure.
COOPER: Yes. It's great to see the before though and the after pictures to see what can be done for them. Rob, appreciate it.
You can still donate to help wildlife and the people affected by the Gulf oil spill. So far, Larry King's telethon has raised over at least $1.3 million. Phone lines are open until 2:00 a.m. Eastern. The number's at the bottom of your screen. You can also donate online at CNN.com/impact.
The money goes to three different charities: the National Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy and the United Way.
Up next: the BP whistleblower speaking out. He says he warned the problem for the DeepWater Horizon rig.
Plus, breaking news: rising floodwaters in Brazil. Dozens killed. We'll have the latest on that.
COOPER: Tomorrow on 360, a BP whistle-blower speaks out. Tyrone Benton says he warned of problems with the equipment, specifically the blowout preventer below the Deepwater Horizon. And he says the warnings were made months before the deadly explosion. He survived the blast. He's now talking to CNN's Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tyrone, 11 people dead?
TYRONE BENTON: Yes.
GRIFFIN: You were there when it blew up?
GRIFFIN: You saw the fire. When those explosions started to rock that rig, did you think, "They didn't take me seriously enough?"
BENTON: I didn't know what was going on. The first explosion, I just thought it was a crane that landed hard on the deck. Didn't realize what was really going on at that time. The second explosion, I knew something was wrong, and all I could do was just get off.
GRIFFIN: At what point did you think back to your reporting that there was a leak in the blowout preventer?
BENTON: Probably I would say a few days later.
GRIFFIN: You may have been the first person to detect a problem with that blowout preventer. You probably were, correct?
GRIFFIN: You reported it, as you should have, correct?
GRIFFIN: Apparently they didn't heed that warning?
BENTON: I can't say what happened. But apparently something just went wrong, terribly wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Benton is suing BP and Transocean. We'll have more of his interview with CNN Special Investigations Unit tomorrow night on 360.
Let's get caught up with some of the other stories we're following tonight. Randi Kaye has that 360 news and business bulletin -- Randi.
KAYE: Anderson, we begin tonight with breaking news. More than 1,000 people are missing in northeastern Brazil after days of heavy rains. The flooding has killed 33 and left more than 40,000 homeless. Officials fear the death toll could skyrocket as bodies begin to turn up on beaches and riverbanks.
Nine members of NATO-led forces are killed in attacks across Afghanistan. In the east, two U.S. soldiers died in what NATO is calling an IED attack, but the Taliban claims it was a female suicide bomber.
The man accused of trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square pleading guilty to all 10 counts against him. Faizal Shahzad also telling the judge he is a Muslim soldier and warned of further attacks against the U.S. Six of the charges against him carry possible life sentences.
Murder suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot, also in court; he told a Peruvian judge his rights and due process were violated after his arrest. In an interview with a Dutch newspaper, Van Der Sloot says police tricked him into confessing to the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez.
And according to various news reports, Peter Orszag will leave his job as the White House budget director in July. This will make him the first official to leave the Obama cabinet and remove a key member of the President's economic team.
And "Billboard" magazine reports Michael Jackson's estate has generated nearly $1 billion since his death last year. Nearly half of it came from music sales. And the documentary "This Is It" has become the most successful concert film ever. It's hard to believe, Anderson, one year ago this week.
COOPER: Yes. I was reading the paper today, they are still deeply in debt. I guess they have a big loan come due later this year.
That's it for 360. Thanks for watching. We'll be in the Gulf tomorrow.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.