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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Gulf Oil Spill
Aired May 14, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, is the gulf oil spill ten times worse than we know? Millions of gallons have already polluted the water. More pouring into it by the minute. As if the "Exxon Valdez" catastrophe happened every four days.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a responsibility all of us share. I will not tolerate more finger- pointing or irresponsibility.
ANNOUNCER: We've got the latest live from the gulf.
Plus, "Survivor" winner Ethan Zahn victorious in an even tougher battle, survival over cancer. How a coincidence linked to the show may have helped save his life. Next on "Larry King Live."
JEFF PROBST, ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry tonight. Let's get right to the latest from New Orleans with CNN David Mattingly. David, what are they doing right now to stop the spill?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, right now they're trying something they have never done before. Not just at this depth, at this mile down at the bottom of the ocean, but never before have they tried this, where they're going to insert a tube inside that leaking pipe.
The idea is they hope they will seal that up tonight and be able to siphon that oil that is now leaking into the Gulf of Mexico up to the top to a waiting containment vessel. They've been trying these things. A week ago they had a huge containment dome that failed on them.
They didn't have a plan B ready to go. This time they're trying multiple things. If this insertion device does not work, they have another smaller containment dome ready to go. So BP not putting all its eggs so to speak into one dome this time.
PROBST: Well, David, you're really getting to the heart of what this story seems to be about, a lack of plan B. You set this up by saying this is unprecedented. It's never been done before. What have you learned about how ill-prepared this whole venture was?
MATTINGLY: I talked to the CEO of BP about a week ago, and I was saying come on, didn't you know that something like this could happen, and if so, why didn't you prepare for it? And the answer we keep getting from him and others in the industry was that the idea of something this catastrophic ever happening was so small that they didn't plan for this. They did have safeguards. They had what they called fail-safes in place on these rigs to prevent that catastrophe. But obviously these fail-safes were not what they were meant to be.
PROBST: Yes, I mean fail-safe implies it's going to work and this didn't. It sounds like what you're saying is they were playing the odds a little bit. That really for the most part, nothing ever happens, so we should be okay, which is the whole point of having a plan B is the what if. So is anybody, are you seeing people starting to take responsibility?
MATTINGLY: Well, what we're seeing are people saying that this was unprecedented, that they had never thought that this would happen. And what we saw at the congressional hearings in Washington was the same thing that the president watching, you saw the reaction to what he had to what was going on there.
The three major players behind this operation all sort of pointing the finger at one another about whose responsibility it was for different things. Right now the president said it's time for people to start taking responsibility and to stop pointing fingers.
But I can tell you, here on the Gulf Coast, we're running into people. We're running into commercial fishermen, sport fishermen, people who own real estate, people who are renting out homes, who are renting out vacation properties, they are all hurting right now because of what this oil spill has done. And they're worried that this pain that is caused by this is not going to disappear any time soon.
PROBST: What is the latest on how much oil is leaking out? The estimates started at a thousand. Now it's at 5,000. Where is it right now?
MATTINGLY: What we know is that Noah came up with this estimate of 5,000 barrels a day by using satellite imagery, looking at that oil spill, trying to figure out how much oil was bubbling up to the top every day. Came up with this estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.
BP has been using that as well. Now once BP put out that video that shows that tube just billowing that cloud of oil out into the ocean, experts around the country took a look at that and started making their own calculations based on what they were looking at.
And they were saying no, it's a lot more than that. It could be double, triple, quadruple, one estimate up to 70,000 barrels a day. The fact is nobody really knows for sure right now. BP responding to that saying well, it's hard to quantify it just by look at it coming out of that tube.
And one of the reasons why you really don't have a perspective on how big that tube is just look agent it, they tell us it's 22 inches wide. And we've got something to show you here. This wash basin is also just exactly that same size, the same size as that pipe down at the bottom that is spewing the oil right now. So judge for yourself.
PROBST: A lot of oil is coming out.
MATTINGLY: In a big cloud, a big cloud of oil coming out of that every single second.
PROBST: David Mattingly, thanks for a great report. President Obama, as David mentioned, expressed his frustration today at the failure to stop the spill. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I will not tolerate more finger-pointing or irresponsibility. The people of the Gulf Coast need our help. And they deserve nothing less than for us to stand up and do whatever is necessary to stop this spill, prevent further damage, and compensate all those who have been harmed already. That's our job. It's also our job to make sure this kind of mess doesn't happen again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: Tony Hayward, BP group Chief Executive said this today. "We absolutely understand and share President Obama's sense of the urgency over the length of time this complex task is taking. We want to thank the president and his administration for their ongoing engagement in this effort. BP working closely with scientists and engineers from across the whole oil industry, from government agencies and departments and with local officials along the Gulf Coast is focused on doing everything in our power to stop the flow of oil, remove it from the service, and protect the shoreline."
CNN's Ed Lavandera is also in New Orleans. Ed, what about the dispersants that are being used to clean up this spill? We're already starting on that portion of it, even though we don't have it stopped yet.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. This is an actual area of this battle in the Gulf of Mexico that is starting to cause a lot of consternation and worry, especially among environmentalists along the Gulf Coast region.
The list of dispersants have to be approved by the EPA, there is a short list of what companies are allowed to use. They're not told what to use by the government, but BP can choose from a list of approved dispersants. They have a couple that they're already using.
But environmentalists are saying that the ones that they're using are much more toxic than other alternatives that are on the market. And they're questioning why BP isn't using those.
PROBST: How effective are these? Are they going to work?
LAVANDERA: Well, it's interesting. I think there is a lot of debate about that. But what people are mostly worried about is that essentially, these dispersants, and they have just gotten the go ahead late this afternoon to blow these dispersants at the site of the oil leak.
What people worry about is it actually keeps the oil from raising, coming up to the surface. And what they're worried about is essentially it breaks down the oil. And they're worried that that will all remain in the sediment at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, and that the long-term ill effects of that will be felt over the coming years.
That that will get into the water column, eventually make its way up through the shrimp and the fish we eat. So there is great concern about that at this point.
PROBST: Ed, thanks for the update.
Is there any way to accurately know how much oil is spewing into the gulf? We will find out from somebody who thinks he can tell. That's right after the break. Be right back.
PROBST: Welcome back to "Larry King Live." Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry tonight. Joining us now, Steve Worley is Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Purdue University. He is a flow measurement expert.
And here in Los Angeles, Bill Nye, the science guy, Vice President of the Planetary Society. He is a professional mechanical engineer and once worked in the oil business.
So, Bill we just watched another space shuttle launch. We can go to the moon, we can't stop an oil spill?
BILL NYE, MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Not right now, not one this big and I think it's from traditions. That is to say in the oil field, there are about 800,000 oil wells around the world. There are about 3,000 oil rigs out at sea and when something goes wrong on land, you have a gusher, a big problem, you enclose it. You put a fence around it. You sweep it up. You pour cement on it. You get the thing to stop. But at the bottom of the ocean is really difficult.
PROBST: Are they doing the right things?
NYE: I guess so. But the problem is it's a very corrosive environment. You have literally in many cases, sulfuric acid coming out and the sea water is very cold, the oil is very hot. Everything has to be very precisely aligned. They're going to try to put this pipe within a pipe?
It's a difficult business and then what happened they put the dome over it. The dome kind of looks like a house. I didn't think of that. The bubbles of methane gas turned into this stuff we call clath rates, or this ice crystal. It's a water -- it's one molecule of methane, natural gas enclosed in a few molecules of water. And it plugged up the pipe. And with experience, that wouldn't happen. But they have never tried it like this before.
PROBST: And does it surprise you that they have not tried that before, knowing this is a possibility?
NYE: Well, it surprised me a little bit. Here is the problem in my opinion. Everybody uses the expression fail-safe.
PROBST: We talked about it earlier.
NYE: Yes, exactly. But these systems in oil wells are really not fail-safe. If things go wrong, you can turn them off. There are systems to shut a valve, a big valve. Even if the drill stream is solid steel rod is still in there, it will cut through it and shut it off. But you have to activate it. You have to turn it on to do that. It doesn't happen on its own. And so it's not --
PROBST: So it's not like a train where if the conductor goes down, everything shuts down.
NYE: That's right, the so called dead man pedal. In this case, in congressional testimony they said if the battery is dead, the dead man pedal, the dead man system doesn't work. It's not quite the same.
PROBST: Steve, you're a flow measurement expert. We've been talking about it. Everybody is talking about it. What is your take on how much oil is actually leaking out?
STEVE WERELEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, PURDUE UNIVERSITY: Well, so when the video was released two days ago of the oil and gas poring forth from the pipe in the bottom of the gulf, I tried my advanced analysis techniques on it. A technique called particle image velocimetry and I was able to calculate 70,000 barrels a day are leaking into the gulf.
PROBST: So Steve, obviously -- BP now says 5,000. That's a huge discrepancy. So are you suggesting that they don't know what they're doing? Or you have two very different opinions? Or maybe they're not being as forthcoming for obvious reasons?
WERELEY: Well, I have seen the description of BP's number and their methodology isn't clear. So I can't really say one way or the other that their number is wrong. But I can say -- one thing that I can say for sure, I'm looking at a snapshot in time.
This 30-second snapshot of this video that they posted and during that 30-second time period, I see a flow rate of 70,000 barrels a day, plus or minus 14. So it could be as low as 56 or as high as 84. But I'm quite confident. I've been doing this for almost 20 years. And I'm quite confident the correct number is in that range.
PROBST: And they're saying also there is a mixture of gas in there. Could that be? Can you tell the difference in looking at the video?
WERELEY: Sure. Yes, if you look at the video, I don't know if you can run it for -- on the show. PROBST: It's running.
WERELEY: OK, the first six seconds of the video, there is a lot of white material coming out of the end of the pipe, and that is the gas. In fact, you can see it float upwards in the video. Quite a bit more rapidly than the oil does.
PROBST: And then it turns dark.
WERELEY: Right, and that's the oil. Toward the end of the video. I based my analysis -- yes, go ahead.
PROBST: Well, I mean, as another engineer, you trace a particle, then, and you have software that measures how fast it's going?
WERELEY: Exactly. The name of the technique is called particle image velocimetry, and basically that means measuring the velocity of the fluid based on a particle's motion. So typically, the way that this would be done in a laboratory setting is you would have -- you would either put small particles into the flow, or you would have some small particles that lap to be there, and you would track how those move.
Now, I can't do exactly that with the video, because the oil is opaque. So I can't see into the oil. But what I can see, and what any viewer can see, when you look at the video, you can track these clouds and different features within the cloud of oil that is coming out of the end of the pipe.
A viewer at home can do this. You can look from one frame to the next you see a little glob, let's say some sort of little feature on the video, you can track from one frame to the next and see how far that moves in how long a time.
PROBST: Steve, I'm going to interrupt. Bill, what happens briefly for a laymen like me, what is happening with cold water and oil? How does that impact this?
NYE: Well, I think -- let me back up one. The estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. I think came from the EPA using satellites. And then I suspect people at BP said oh, yes, 5,000, that's about right. But here Professor Wereley's got it much more accurate when they finally release the video.
WERELEY: Yes, I heard the same history, Bill.
PROBST: If this -- let me go, then, to a bigger question, and we're going to close this segment out. If this doesn't work, what do you do? What is it that we've got to do something? What is that big last thing that we do that we're sure will work?
NYE: Let's not say last. Let's say next thing. Traditionally you put enough stuff on top of it to stop it up. Meanwhile, as we say do everything at all once. They'll drill in from the side --
PROBST: But when you talk about a material dump, you're literally talking about dumping junk.
NYE: Well, junk, the stuff that is known to lock up there. Is stuff called drilling fluid or mud and it's a dilatent material.
PROBST: It seems crazy, sitting at home, it seems crazy that this would be a next resort. All right. An oil industry insider. A former president of Shell says he's got some ideas for how we can stop this spill. So why isn't anybody using these ideas? That's next. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I know BP has committed to pay for the response effort. And we will hold them to their obligation. I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter.
Yet, executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: We welcome John Hofmeister. He is the former president of Shell oil company, and he is the author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies."
John, a lot of people are blasting BP for not being adequately prepared and not having the spill stopped by now. What do you think?
JOHN HOFMEISTER, FORMER PRESIDENT, SHELL OIL: I think we're facing a catastrophic failure of how many systems we don't know yet. Until we investigate what went wrong, we don't know what happened when. But it's catastrophic.
I think they have an all-hands on deck response. They're going through the whole crisis exercise, listing lots of remedies. And while it looks like perhaps they're changing course, they're actually following a list, a menu of things they could possibly do to fix this leak.
PROBST: One of the things I've heard talk about is this relief well. Is that -- that seems like -- or sounds like it is a massive undertaking that could potentially be months in the making.
HOFMEISTER: The worst case would be months, but it is a massive undertaking. Basically, they're drilling a whole new well. In fact, they're drilling two whole new wells, 19,000 feet through rock to try to get to the six-inch pipe that is at the base of the reservoir which the oil is flowing from and the gas. If they can get in there and drill through the existing pipe, then they can pour cement, a final fix, and shut that well off forever. PROBST: You have been in this industry, or were in this industry for a long time. Is it fair to say that BP should have been better- prepared? You know, they have this blowout protector, but it doesn't seem like they had an adequate plan B. The containment dome wasn't even built.
HOFMEISTER: Well, the blowout protector in the 30,000 wells over the last 40 years in the Gulf of Mexico has been a reliable device. Are they perfect? No. But have we ever had a blowout like this in 40 years? No. To say they weren't prepared means that every well should be prepared for against extraordinary odds.
I think there will be lessons learned from this. There could be more redundancy built into future use of blowout protectors. There could be more adequate storage. But, you know, they've got hundreds of thousands of feet of boom. They've organized an armada of ships.
They have a 13,000 person army of people working on this cleanup project. They have a thousand people in their crisis center. So this was all part of what every oil company has as a plan to address things when they go badly wrong.
PROBST: John, what do you make -- we just had Steve Wereley who's a flow measurement expert from Purdue. His estimate could be as high as 70,000. BP is at 50. A huge discrepancy there.
HOFMEISTER: What I understand, I'm not a mathematician. I respect his calculations. But I don't understand how a six-inch pipe at the base of the reservoir could allow that much liquid and gas to flow through it in 70,000 barrels is a lot of quantity. And in a six- inch pipe. Maybe I'm missing something. But I don't understand how that much volume could go through six inches in a day.
PROBST: Let me ask the question a different way. Are you surprised that there could be such a debate on something that you would think -- me as a layperson would think there are probably a lot of experts that can look at that and say it's roughly this, and they would all be fairly close, 5,000, 70,000, miles apart.
HOFMEISTER: It somewhat depends on the amount of oil versus gas that is in the mix. If you're counting crude oil that actually surfaces, you won't see the gas once it dissipates into the water. It eventually surfaces into the atmosphere. But that much crude oil, there shouldn't be that kind of discrepancy. Something is missing here, and I don't know what it is.
PROBST: All right. We know it's a 21-inch pipe. That seems to be the only thing anybody can agree on. What is your best guess looking at this. When do you think this will be contained?
HOFMEISTER: Well, you know, they have this whole list of options. And whether the insertion pipe technique works where they can put a rubber phalange around it and guide the flowing oil to the surface, whether the junk shot idea which I believe they may be ready for in a week or so works, which stuffs the well with material that was a practice used in Kuwait. So they're applying a Kuwaiti practice to try to shut the well down. That's not a permanent fix, though, because pressure could build, it could blow out again. We wouldn't want that to happen. But again, that would stop the flow. The immediate work to stop the flow, it seems to me in the next week or two there should be a good shot at the next remedies that are being applied.
Meanwhile, they keep drilling that relief well that ultimately will shut off the flow. And I understand that based on papers I've read, they're ahead of schedule on the drilling. But you can always get stuck while drilling. And you could get a really hard period of rock and not be able to get through it as quickly as you would like. So it may still take some time to get that relief well dug.
PROBST: All right, John. Thanks for being with us. John Hofmeister, author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies."
Philippe Cousteau saw the oil spill and its effects firsthand. His eyewitness account is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: How do you account for the longevity of the Stones as a success?
MICK JAGGER, SINGER: Well, I think the Stones are very lucky. You always need a lot of luck. And I think that they were in the right place at the right time. And we -- when we work, we work very hard. So I think you need all those things. It's no good just being hard working. Most people are hard working. But you've got to be hard working, on your game and be lucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: Larry interviews Mick on Tuesday. Now back to tonight's show. Philippe Cousteau is chief ocean correspondent Planet Green. He is the CEO of Earth Echo, and grandson of the legendary Jacques Cousteau. You've seen the oil spill and its effects firsthand, Philippe. Tell us what you saw.
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, EARTH ECHO CEO: Well, Jeff, I spent the last few days -- actually, I just arrived back in D.C. this morning from New Orleans. I spent the last few days surveying the effects of the spill, which of course is an environmental catastrophe. You know, 40 percent of the wetlands in the lower 48 states are in Louisiana. This is a spill of epic proportions that we have never seen before and weren't prepared for.
So we got a sense of that from the air the first day. But then what really interested me was spending a little bit of time -- a couple of days with the people along the coast whose lives are being affected, and in many cases destroyed because of this spill.
PROBST: So how bad is it in the water on the fish and the plankton?
COUSTEAU: Well, you know, I think the scary part is that we don't know. You know, the technology to clean up an oil spill hasn't changed almost at all in the last 20 years, since the Valdez in Alaska. Though our technology to extract oil has advanced tremendously. So we weren't prepared for this, and we just don't know.
A typical tanker spill like the Valdez was a limited finite amount. It was surrounded on three sides by mountains. And we knew how much oil it was and it was on the surface. The problem with this oil spill is that it is at a mile down, and it's gushing in this three dimensional environment. And we don't know what the effects are of oil suspended in the water column, as well as ultimately where the oil is going to end up on the surface.
PROBST: Philippe, if the estimates -- if the higher estimates are true, that it's up to 70,000 gallons a day, is that -- what difference will that make environmentally? How dramatic a difference will that make?
COUSTEAU: Well, even if we're able to cap the oil today, this is a crisis of epic proportions. And I think that's important to remember. And, you know, if it indeed is 70,000 barrels a day, then I mean I think -- again, the problem is the due diligence was not done. The science wasn't done. And we ultimately don't know what the effect of that oil is going to be on the ecosystem of the Gulf.
It's a very complex ecosystem. But what we do know is that this is a -- even if we cap it today, this is a terrible disaster, not only for the environment, but for the thousands of people that live along the coast.
PROBST: When you -- you travel all over the world. Did you expect something like this to happen? Did you think it was inevitable?
COUSTEAU: You know, I testified about this in Congress about a year ago. And, you know, these deep water rigs, many of them have been exempted from vigorous environmental impact statements, and many have been exempted from plans. As I said, the technology has not advanced in 20 years, really, to clean up these oil spills. And they weren't prepared.
So I think that that we always knew that this was a possibility, and we certainly hoped that it would never be the case. We always encourage people that we needed to be prepared for it in case we did. We always need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
And as I talk to some folks -- I was in Mobile, Alabama yesterday. Some folks who own shops who have already seen 50 percent -- they're 50 percent down from last year. Not sure if they're going to be able to survive the summer. This is not only the worst environmental time, because it's the breeding and nursing and nesting time, but it's also the worst time from an economic perspective. This is the height of the season. There are already people, thousands and thousands of people, that are look at going bust.
And I got a sense of frustration from some of the folks down around Alabama and Louisiana, that they thought the oil companies would be prepared if something like this happened. And a lot of their opinions are changing, because while oil provides, you know, jobs for thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, now it's destroying the lives of thousands of people on the Gulf Coast as well.
PROBST: Philippe, thanks for being with us. Thanks for all of your comments.
Believe it or not, your own hair could help soak up the spill. That is next.
PROBST: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Jeff Probst, sitting in for Larry tonight. Joining us is John Paul Dejoria, co- founder of Paul Mitchell Systems. John Paul gives hair from his salons to a non profit organization called Matter of Trust to make oil spill hair mats. Also joining us here in L.A., Ed Begley, Jr., an actor and well-known environmentalist.
John Paul, I have learned now about these hair mats. It's an incredibly low tech way, but seemingly very effective way to help clean up oil spills.
JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, CO-FOUNDER PAUL MITCHELL SYSTEMS: Jeff, it really works. For several years now, our Paul Mitchell Schools and supporting salons have been collecting hair, putting it in nylons. And there are about 2,500 small spills every single year. So we know that it works. Right now, in Louisiana, our Paul Mitchell School Vanguard has one of our main instructors converting her entire house to putting hair into nylons, making booms, and getting out there and making it happen.
PROBST: What is it about hair that attracts the oil?
DEJORIA: Hair is very absorbent. Give you example, why do we wash our hair every few days? It's because the hair picks up oil, all the oil off the scalp. What works really nice is not only does it collect the oil and pick it up and house it, similar to what we do off of our scalp, but when you're done with it, you can squeeze it all out, use it again, or squeeze it out and then use it for another environmental thing. So it's very eco-friendly.
PROBST: Ed, you've been a vocal environmentalist for years. What do you make of this? It's kind of a crazy idea.
ED BEGLEY JR., ACTOR AND ENVIRONMENTALIST: It works. J.P. is a friend of mine. I know it works. He knows it works. That's a solution for some of the oil, the oil you can get to. There is not enough hair and nylons to get to all of it.
What do woe we do in the future? We all feel so powerless. What can we do? I'd like to take a moment -- you heard from Philippe about all the plant and animal species that will be affected and the fishermen. But there were 11 people who died. There's Shane Roshto from Franklin County, Mississippi, ten other people who died. You can find the names of all the worker there who died on that rig and remember them, and the 29 people who died at the Big Branch Mine, the coal minors, getting us energy.
We owe them something, I think. We should conserve as much as we can. We shouldn't be cavalier about this energy we take for granted. What can we all do? There are ways that we can conserve that don't cost a lot of money. Everybody should do their part. During World War II, we all -- I wasn't around. I was born '49. But my dad did. You did everything you could to conserve, to save. You know, I'm there with you.
We've got troops in Afghanistan and Iraq right now fighting. And you have to admit that oil is part of that struggle over there in that region. So I think we owe it to them to conserve. There is many ways we can do that. I think everybody should pitch in now and do something to conserve this precious resource. And I think that's what we can do now.
PROBST: Is an oil spill like this, to someone like you -- is it heartbreaking? Or is it --
BEGLEY JR.: Yes.
PROBST: It is?
BEGLEY JR.: It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking to see. But when you're drilling a mile deep, and -- you know, with these kind of situations, we have to go further and further to get the oil. You know, we'll never run out of oil. We really won't. We'll go broke trying to get to it, and go into more and more dangerous situations, the tar sands in Alberta. It takes a lot of water to get to that oil. What is that environmental cost?
We can get to oil. There is nothing inherently wrong about oil. It's like saying there is something wrong with copper or magnesium. It's part of the Earth. Why would you go through, in a few hundred years, all that precious resource from the Carboniferous (ph) Period with coal, and from the oil that is in the ocean and all over? There is lots of drilling going on at the Beverly Center right near us here, and Doheny (ph) and Pico (ph) and Beverly Hills High.
There's oil rigs right now. We have to be careful with that resource. We can't be cavalier about it. We all can do something. And I say do it right now.
PROBST: John Paul, as Ed says, your hair mat idea may not solve this entire crisis. But I don't want to discount it. How successful has this been?
DEJORIA: Extremely successful. As I say, in the last three years, for example, there is about 2,500 minor oil spills that are happening all over the place. And this has been a huge, huge answer to those problems. Now as Ed so well pointed out -- and by the way, Ed, you are brilliant. You live that life and walk the walk and talk the talk. But with all due respect here, it is very successful, because it absorbs so much and it's in such a natural way. And the people there at A Matter of Trust are phenomenal putting this all together.
It's interesting, but a hair dresser name Philip from Alabama gave us the idea many years ago that you could actually do this with hair. So we are successful. We don't get it all, but boy do we get a heck of a lot of it.
BEGLEY JR.: -- the whole oil spill? Is there enough for all of it?
DEJORIA: I wish there was, Ed, but there is not enough hair that is cut for the whole spill. I wish there was.
BEGLEY JR.: I know it works. You misunderstood. I know it works. I was just saying that I don't think there is enough for the whole spill. It definitely works, no question.
DEJORIA: Now if everyone throughout the whole world sent their hair to one of our Paul Mitchell Schools or one of our groups to put it all together, who knows, maybe it would work. We don't that have that much hair. It definitely works.
Ed, you said the most important thing. When something like this happens, it makes everybody more aware of being sustainable of what we're doing, and let's not waste the energy. Let's not waste the energy. We didn't cause that spill. But let's not waste the energy.
PROBST: What can we do going forward?
DEJORIA: Go forward by shutting off your lights when you leave the room and a lot of other things.
PROBST: Ed, I'm going to put a clock on you, 30 Seconds. How does this affect me? Because one of the things I'm noticing in this story, for all the significance it seems to have, it's not a huge story yet.
BEGLEY JR.: Well, it's going to be. It's affecting fisheries right now. It's going to affect the fishermen. They have been so many times there in that Gulf Coast with Katrina.
PROBST: How does it affect me here in Los Angeles?
BEGLEY JR.: It's going to affect people who eat fish, that's for sure. It's going to affect us in many ways. It's going to affect the ecosystem. There is going to be a sad trickle-down effect with that. But you're not powerless. Do something. Save fuel by riding a bike, if weather and fitness permanent. Take public transportation, if it's available near you. Turn off the lights. Save energy.
Now a days, if you're going to save electricity, you're also potentially saving a fuel for a vehicle, because they've got plug-in hybrids coming. I just met with William Clay Ford. They've got pure electrics and plug-in hybrid coming. So if you're saving electricity, that can power a vehicle now a days.
I came here in a solar-powered vehicle. I make those electrons on the roof of my house. I know it works.
PROBST: I love it. You are a pioneer. As John Paul said, you are living the life. Thank you for being here. John Paul, thanks for being with us. Saving the environment may help save lives. We will tell you about that link with my friend and familiar face from "Survivor." This is a big term, but it all kind of connects. Ethan Zohn is next.
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KING: An iconic figure. He doesn't do a lot of interviews.
One of our top requests of all time has finally made it.
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PROBST: You want to see more of that? Watch another sneak peek of Larry's interview with Mick Jagger at CNN.com/LarryKing. Well, any way you look at it, our next guest is a true survivor. Ethan Zohn was the winner of "Survivor Africa." He used those winnings and founded Grassroots Soccer. He beat a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is an all around good guy and a friend. It's a pleasure to have you on the show, on LARRY KING LIVE, Ethan.
Ethan, you have been on with Larry before talking about your battle with this cancer. You have great news to report today.
ETHAN ZOHN, "SURVIVOR AFRICA" WINNER: Yes. The cancer is in remission. I'm really excited. Just got news about three weeks ago.
PROBST: We're very happy to hear that. Everybody's been pulling for you, I think all over the world, because you've become such a spokesperson and doing such good work. And you wrote a column today for CNN.com about the fact that one of the connections to getting better was actually this rare plant that was found in Africa. Tell us about that.
ZOHN: Yeah. It's called the Rosy Periwinkle from Madagascar. Who would have thought this rare African flower would be a huge part of saving my life. A drug was derived from the flower called Unchristine (ph), which is part of the chemotherapy regime which helped cure my Hodgkins Lymphoma.
PROBST: Is this something you've been educating yourself on, plants and their relation to pharmaceuticals?
ZOHN: A little bit. You know, because of this article, I did research a little bit. But it's obviously much bigger than me. It's about every family in America. One in three Americans have a chronic illness, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, that can potentially be helped by a drug derived from nature. PROBST: All right. Ethan, stick around. We're going to come back a little more with Ethan Zohn.
Right now, another top 25 LARRY KING LIVE moment. This one is timely, even though it is from 2007. It's when Larry spoke to Brad Pitt in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that remained.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just can't describe this view. It just goes and on and on. It's just ghastly.
KING: It was shocking to see that district in New Orleans, a city I love, and what had happened to it. Seeing things on television is one thing, being there is another.
BRAD PITT, ACTOR: The plan is to start with 150 homes. To build those 150 homes, I need the help of the American people. We need the help of the American people.
There's a portion of our society that we're overlooking that we're not taking care of. It can be fixed.
KING: I'm a great admirer of Brad Pitt. He's a super guy. And he does wonderful things like Katrina.
PITT: If you've seen a list of all the road blocks that we've encountered and have yet to encounter, it would appear too daunting. But with people like Charles and everyone else on the ground -- there are literally hundreds of now people involved in this. This thing's working. It will get done.
KING: He's there. He didn't have to do that. I like it when they're on the ground. Brad Pitt's on the ground. He had a very successful raising of money from that appearance.
If some wealthy persons would give a check for 150,000, that would be a house.
PITT: They are putting a family in a house. They are returning a family to their neighborhood. Done.
KING: A great respect for Pitt. I was enlightened.
PITT: This is -- certainly, it has to be a long haul project to work. There's no turning back.
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PROBST: Go to CNN.com/LarryKing to pick your top five moments and enter the contest that could have you coming to L.A. to watch the show in person. More with Ethan Zohn after the break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PROBST: We are back with Ethan Zohn. Ethan and I have known each other about eight years. When we met, it was in Africa, filming "Survivor." This is way back when, when the show was just beginning. It's a bit ironic -- a bit of us on the screen now, back when you had a lot more hair, that you had to shave off for the cancer treatments. But it is ironic that this plant would come from Africa.
But tonight we've been talking about impact on the environment with this oil spill. It directly connects to where you're at right now, because if the environment continues to be destroyed, plants like the one that helped save your life will be gone.
ZOHN: Exactly. And that's just one thing that obviously I'm here to talk about. I'm working with the Global Conservation Act, and they're trying to protect these endangered areas. What's going to happen when these environmental areas are destroyed, and potentially life-saving drugs will go along with it. You know, it's scary.
PROBST: What's the percentage -- what have you learned in terms of how many drugs originate with plants that are found in the rain forest, for instance?
ZOHN: Yeah, 50 percent of all the drugs in the past 25 years have been derived from nature. So you can just imagine how many more are still out there that have been undiscovered. And through, you know, pollution, deforestation, over-fishing, human, you know, destruction, we have the ability to really make a horrible impact on these areas, which could potentially save millions of people.
PROBST: From your journeys through Africa and other places, how concerned do you think we should be right now?
ZOHN: You know, time is running out. And when I was on "Survivor," I learned how to live with nature, depend on nature. You know, it was for 39 days. But then again, here, this Rosy Periwinkle, which helped save my life, that's a huge deal. And if we keep destroying these areas, you know, it could be a potentially horrible situation.
PROBST: Where are you at right now with everything? You've been through a lot of treatments. You and I have stayed in touch via texting and e-mails and phone calls, and there were times I couldn't reach you at all because you were in the bubble. You look good. You sound good. What's the complete update on the cancer?
ZOHN: The complete update is, I had a rough year. I went through multiple different forms of chemotherapy. You know, some of them didn't work. Some of them did work. I went through a full altalagus (ph) stem cell transplant, where I was in isolation for 30 days. And that really got the cancer into remission, in addition to chemotherapy.
So I'm really excited to wake up every day and be alive, and have the opportunity to come out here and raise awareness for important projects like this.
PROBST: And what do the doctors tell you about the future for you?
ZOHN: The future looks bright. You know, they say -- and I can go on, lead a fairly normal lifestyle. Some precautions I have to take. But I feel great. I'm full of energy. I'm getting back to traveling all over again. I'm working with Grass Roots Soccer, working with Pew in this Global Conservation Act. I couldn't be happier.
PROBST: And what do you make of tonight's show? This oil spill and the impact it's having?
ZOHN: I mean, obviously I think it's horrible. And, you know, I just -- obviously, the impact that this has -- you know, the ripple effect is what I'm trying to get, it has multiple levels of how it is going to impact our environment. And, you know, something has to be done quickly.
PROBST: All right, Ethan. Well, thanks for gathering yourself together on short notice to come out and talk about that. We're very excited. And glad to see you so healthy.
ZOHN: Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate it.
PROBST: "Anderson Cooper 360" starts right now.