Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

The Spill and Transparency; Dispersant Reductions Misleading; Al Gore Investigation Reopened

Aired July 01, 2010 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We are live in Louisiana.

Tonight, only on 360: Jimmy Buffett. He sings the "Sunny Paradise" and "Gulf Coast Living" but now Margaritaville is under attack. Tonight: Jimmy Buffett, speaking out about oil, the Gulf, and BP.


COOPER: Can Margaritaville survive an oil slick?


Hell, we have survived -- well, people on this coast can survive anything. I mean, it's -- it's another storm. It happens to be one we are not quite used to in terms of what it's leaving behind.

But, you know, this is hurricane country and people bounce back.


COOPER: My exclusive conversation with Jimmy Buffett tonight. Find out who he calls liars.

Also, disturbing reports about those FEMA trailers, full of formaldehyde from Katrina once again, being used here by cleanup crews.

And the latest on the Al Gore investigation.

But we begin, as we do every night, "Keeping Them Honest".

This time, however, we're not talking about BP. We're talking about the government, a new a rule announced today backed by the force of law and the threat of fines and felony charges, a rule that will prevent reporters and photographers and anyone else from getting anywhere close to booms and oil-soaked wildlife and just about any place we need to be.

By now, you're probably familiar with cleanup crews stiff-arming the media, private security blocking cameras, ordinary workers clamming up, some not even saying who they're working for because they're afraid of losing their jobs.

BP has said again and again that's not their policy. Yet, again and again, it has happened. And we have seen it. But that's BP.

And now the government apparently is getting in on the act, despite what Admiral Thad Allen promised about transparency just nearly a month ago. Here is what he said back then.


ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN (RET.), NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: I have put out a written directive -- and I can provide it for the record -- that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things, if it's a security or a safety problem. That is my policy.


COOPER: Uninhibited access, unless it's a security or safety problem.

Well, the Coast Guard today announced new rules keeping photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches -- 65 feet.

Now, in order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans. You have to call up the guy. What this means is that oil-soaked birds on islands surrounded by boom, you can't get close enough to take that picture.

Shots of oil on beaches with booms, stay 65 feet away. Pictures of oil-soaked booms uselessly laying in the water because they haven't been collected like they should, you can't get close enough to see that. And, believe me, that is out there.

But you only know that if you get close to it, and now you can't without permission. Violators could face a fine of $40,000 and Class D felony charges.

What's even more extraordinary is that the Coast Guard tried to make the exclusion zone 300 feet, before scaling it back to 65 feet.

Here is how Admiral Allen defends it.


ALLEN: Well, it's not unusual at all for the Coast Guard to establish either safety or security zones around any number of facilities or activities for public safety or for the safety of the equipment itself. We would do this for marine events, fireworks demonstrations, cruise ships going in and out of port.


COOPER: So, this is the exact same logic that federal wildlife officials used to prevent CNN on two occasions from getting pictures of oiled birds that have been collected, pictures like -- like the -- well, that we're about to show you which are obviously deeply disturbing, pictures of oiled gulls that we just happened to catch. Suddenly, we were told after -- after that day we couldn't catch it anymore. So, keeping prying eyes out of marshes, away from booms, off the beaches is now government policy.

When asked why now, after all this time, Thad Allen said he had gotten some complaints from local officials worried people might get hurt. Now, we don't know who these officials are. We would like to. But transparency is apparently not a high priority with Thad Allen either these days.

Maybe he is accurate and some officials are concerned. And that's their right. But we've heard far more from local officials about not being able to get a straight story from the government or BP. I have met countless local officials desperate for pictures to be taken and stories written about what is happening in their communities.

We're not the enemy here. Those of us down here trying to accurately show what's happening, we are not the enemy. I have not heard about any journalist who has disrupted relief efforts. No journalist wants to be seen as having slowed down the cleanup or made things worse. If a Coast Guard official asked me to move, I would move.

But to create a blanket rule that everyone has to stay 65 feet away boom and boats, that doesn't sound like transparency. Frankly, it's a lot like in Katrina when they tried to make it impossible to see recovery efforts of people who died in their homes.

If we can't show what is happening, warts and all, no one will see what's happening. And that makes it very easy to hide failure and hide incompetence and makes it very hard to highlight the hard work of cleanup crews and the Coast Guard. We are not the enemy here.

We found out today two public broadcasting journalists reporting on health issues say they have been blocked again and again from visiting a federal mobile medical unit in Venice, a trailer where cleanup workers are being treated. It's known locally as the BP compound. And these two reporters say everyone they have talked to, from BP to the Coast Guard, to Health and Human Services in Washington has been giving them the runaround.

We're not talking about a CIA station here. We're talking about a medical trailer that falls under the authority of, guess who, Thad Allen, the same Thad Allen who promised transparency all those weeks ago.

We are not the enemy here.

With us now, two parish presidents, Billy Nungesser of Plaquemines Parish and Craig Taffaro, Jr. of Saint Bernard.

Thanks very much for being with us. What do you make of this 65-foot rule, Billy?

BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: You know, instead of spending time picking up the oil, getting more skimmers, I'm blown away. You know, does this mean, if I'm out or one of the fisherman is out and sees a pelican, he fears he's going to be fined or arrested, so he doesn't go into that area?

The only boom that's been disturbed has been because we had the wrong type of boom or they put it down wrong or the winds have blown it up into the marsh.

COOPER: And you can only see that if you actually get within, say, five feet, maybe 10 feet, of that boom and you see, oh, look, that's oil-soaked boom that should have been picked up weeks ago.

NUNGESSER: I see why now we don't have the equipment we need. We're spending more time trying to come up with a reason why to keep people away, instead of coming up with equipment and deploying -- we've got that large ship sitting in Venice. It breaks my heart --


COOPER: This is a huge skimming vessel.

NUNGESSER: And still red tape keeps it there. Maybe if they spent more time getting things like that deployed to pick up the oil, they wouldn't have to worry about blocking access from the media.

This is crazy. I'm not calling the Port of New Orleans. And anybody that wants to come down to Plaquemines Parish, we will take you right up to show you the birds. I don't give a care about their rule. We're going to fix the boom. We're going to suck up the oil, and we're going to do our job and we're going to let the media have access.

If we did our job and did the right thing, the news you would be reporting would be good news. You would be showing marsh being cleaned. You would be showing the things.

Now, listen, Craig said I had to be nice tonight, because it's Fourth of July.

COOPER: So, you're going to -- you wanted him to give a three-day --


CRAIG TAFFARO JR., PRESIDENT, SAINT BERNARD PARISH, LOUISIANA: Three- day amnesty and let him -- no more Mr. Nice Guy after that.


NUNGESSER: I spent three days trying to get permission from all the parishes to let us use their skimmers that are not there. These 100 skimmers that all these parishes have, today, we got the report. I apologize. Cameron doesn't have any skimmers. But we heard they were on the shore and that --


COOPER: So, wait. Officially, there is -- there is dozens of skimmers in each of these parishes?

NUNGESSER: Well, that's what the report says.

TAFFARO: On paper.

COOPER: On paper.

NUNGESSER: Jefferson has 96. They have got 18. They have asked for 10 more.

COOPER: So, wait. They have 96 skimmers officially on paper?

NUNGESSER: On the paper.

COOPER: In Jefferson Parish, but you have counted and they only have how many?

NUNGESSER: Well, I've talked to them tonight. They have 18.

COOPER: Eighteen.

NUNGESSER: You know, and, listen, if we only got 18, then let's order some more and let's get to work.

But if -- you know, we're spending more time looking for this equipment, that nobody knows where it is.

COOPER: How are things now in your parish since Hurricane Alex?

TAFFARO: Well, here is the thing.

You know, we want to be able to tell a positive story about what's happening. And the shame of it is, many of our waters, maybe for a little bit more time, are still open for fishing.

So, we have booms spread out. We have over 50 miles of boom. So, in essence, this rule that's been enacted today --

COOPER: Right.

TAFFARO: -- could shut down all of the recreation fishermen --


TAFFARO: -- and all of the -- all of the activities that are going on in our open waters, because people will be fearful of running up against getting too close to boom.

That's not what we do in Saint Bernard Parish. We operate from a standpoint of we want our story to be told.

COOPER: I also haven't heard of anyone, recreational fishermen or anyone going out there trying to run over boom. I mean, everybody here is in the same boat, literally, and wants this thing --

NUNGESSER: Who made the complaint?

COOPER: Right. Well, yes. That's -- (CROSSTALK)

NUNGESSER: What official? I've talked to --


TAFFARO: We talked to all of them.

NUNGESSER: Nobody has made a complaint.

COOPER: Right.

Well, how are things in the wake of Hurricane Alex? Have you guys been set back?

TAFFARO: Well, we had a four -- we had a four -- basically about a 400-barrel swathe of oil coming in. We had to stand down because of the storm activity. And now that oil has now been spewing all over inside of the Chandeleur Islands.

We have Brush Island again inundated, and we are going out again tomorrow to start cleaning it up. We have a whole colony of birds now that have been affected and now are all damaged.


TAFFARO: So, we have to go back out, basically start over. One of our issues is that we have to get assets that can fight this oil in open water.

Look --

COOPER: Skimming vessels, you're talking about.

TAFFARO: Skimming vessels, absolutely.

COOPER: Right.

TAFFARO: We are going to have a storm pattern from now until September.

COOPER: It is incredible that we are still, on day 72, whatever, 73 that this is --



COOPER: -- is that we're still talking about getting skimming vessels, when they were talking weeks ago and months ago, frankly, about, this is a worst-case scenario. We have got all hands on deck. We have made the call for everything.

NUNGESSER: If we had half the equipment that I have seen on paper physically out there, we would have a fighting chance. What's actually out there on the water, we don't have a prayer. We're fighting -- we have fishermen out there tonight with lights sucking up oil.

This is crazy. We're fighting against now -- the Coast Guard? I mean, when are we going to get a team down here on our side that sits side by side and says let's go out and see what is out there, let's put everything out there we can?

And look, I told the vice president, I said, you have a very short window. We're losing, and you're losing. It is not too late to turn this around. But you know what?


COOPER: Joe Biden --

NUNGESSER: But you know what? Saying words like war and kick butt, saying it don't mean diddly, unless you do it. And they better get somebody on the ground that can do it.

TAFFARO: We can't keep -- we can't keep having -- we can't keep having the local guys, and even the local guys from BP, the local Coast Guard personnel, that, that when they get here and they get engaged, they understand it, and they get it.

COOPER: Right. And they're working hard.



NUNGESSER: Oh they are.

TAFFARO: We -- we can't keep handcuffing those guys. They walk away -- actually, when they rotate out, they walk away brokenhearted, because they know what's going on, and they can't say, man, we're really messing up because we don't get the support from up top.

It starts to trickle in, and, then, all of a sudden, something stops. This is what we have to change. We have to -- we have to connect the dots, so the local guys who are working as hard as they can and doing what they know is right gets the support from their own agencies, that they're down here.

COOPER: I appreciate you guys' time tonight.

TAFFARO: You bet.

COOPER: Billy Nungesser and Craig Taffaro, thanks so much.

TAFFARO: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

Still a lot tonight to cover. Let us know what you think.

The live chat is up and running right now at And again -- I say it again -- we are not the enemy here.

Up next: A horrible legacy of Katrina returns, those FEMA trailers and their toxic fumes now part of this disaster as well, if you can believe it. We'll tell you how they tie in and how these trailers suddenly showed up here, and what Congressman Ed Markey says he wants to do about it. He joins us next.

Also, "Up Close": the damage from Hurricane Alex, the wind, the waves, the oil.

Randi Kaye gets a tour from Governor Jindal today.

And, later, my exclusive interview with a child of the Gulf, Jimmy Buffett.


COOPER: What do you make of the cleanup by BP?

BUFFETT: I think you've got to compare it to like -- what I heard that made the most sense to me is people that dealt with the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and what were the repercussions, and how far after that did they actually keep the process in place? And I think that's -- I think you've got to keep their feet to the fire.



COOPER: We were stunned when we heard this story today. I want to show you some video. Take a look.

Remember these? These are toxic trailers from Katrina. Five years later, according to "The New York Times," they're now being sold to cleanup workers and companies down here, sold despite a government ban on using them for housing. They've got formaldehyde in them. We can't imagine they're being used as mobile wine cellars.

Congressman Ed Markey, who is already deeply involved in the larger disaster, has now turned his attention to these trailers. I spoke to him just a short time ago.


COOPER: Congressman Markey, how stunned were you when you first heard that this these formaldehyde-soaked trailers are reappearing in the wake of this disaster, almost five years since Katrina?

REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's stunning on the one hand, but not surprising. This has been characteristic of everything that has occurred since day one. It's obvious, again, that there has been no proper preparation for what is taking place in the Gulf right now. Of course, it is absolutely preposterous that workers who are asked to go out to clean up toxic materials are then going home to trailers, toxic trailers loaded with formaldehyde that are not fit for human habitation.

But, again, unfortunately, it fits into the very pattern which has begun 74 days ago and continues until today.

COOPER: I mean do we know whose idea it was to start selling these trailers? I mean, after Katrina, these things were dubbed unlivable.

MARKEY: Unfortunately, during the Bush administration, they made a decision to sell these trailers, to sell these toxic trailers. And now, in a long and winding road, they have wound up right back where they started, being used to house people who should have been told that the warning label has been taken off of these trailers. It's not like a mattress where they have taken off the warning label.

This is more like a pack of cigarettes that are -- that is harmful to people's health that is now being used to house people who are already in a dangerous occupation, and that is, cleaning up toxic materials in the Gulf of Mexico.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, I was surprised that these weren't even just destroyed. FEMA has said -- said that subsequent owners of the trailers have to inform buyers that these units are not intended to house people.

But, I mean, is there anyone actually ensuring that this is -- is happening?

MARKEY: I think that's pretty clear. I think -- I think that it is pretty clear that that has not happened.

And that's why Congressman Melancon from Louisiana and I wrote a letter today to the GSA, asking that -- that there be a full disclosure of what has happened with these trailers in the past. How did we get to a situation where the trailers are now being used to house people without notification to them that it could be dangerous to their health and to the health of their families?

COOPER: It's just incredible. I mean, every day, something new occurs that just boggles the mind here.

MARKEY: Again, I don't think that there's going to be any end to it.

We know that, inside of the -- a preparedness plan that BP put together, that they did not mention hurricanes or tropical storms, even as they were mentioning walruses, which have not lived in the Gulf of Mexico for three million years.

So, that kind of lack of preparation, I think, is all part of this storyline. It is, unfortunately, not something that the people in Louisiana or the Gulf should be subjected to. And it's why we, on a daily basis almost, have to police everything that is happening, so that more harm is not inflicted upon these people.

COOPER: Congressman Ed Markey, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MARKEY: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, just ahead tonight: Chad Myers warned us, that even if the spill zone avoided a direct hit from Hurricane Alex, there would still be a price to pay. Sadly, he was right. We'll show you the damage today that we saw.

Plus, the EPA warned BP to cut down on all the dispersants they have been spraying and pumping in the ocean. The question is, have they really? We're "Keeping Them Honest".

And, later, only on 360, Jimmy Buffett, the man who practically defines mellow, but not here, not now, with Margaritaville under threat.


COOPER: Who do you get angry at?

BUFFETT: You get angry at -- you get angry at people that -- I think people in the extraction business is the logical place for anger to go, because if they really had the -- if they really had the interest of the Gulf of Mexico and all of its entities at heart, they would have done a better job in the beginning.



COOPER: Tropical Storm Alex now a shadow of its former self, 45- miles-an-hour winds, down from about 105-mile-an-hour Category 2 hurricane when it actually came ashore last night.

Take a look at South Padre Island, Texas, it and nearby parts of the state getting about a foot of rain. It's pretty much of a mess right now. Trouble, too, here in Louisiana, largely bypassed by the storm itself, but clearly hurt by the backwash from it.

Randi Kaye tonight was out on the water.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hours after 12-foot waves from Hurricane Alex eased, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal heads out to survey the damage. The governor doesn't like what he sees.

(on camera): Worse than you expected?


Look, I hate to see any oil back here, but I especially hate to see this oil in the wetlands.

KAYE (voice-over): This is Grand Terre, about 100 miles from where the Deepwater Horizon exploded. It's a barrier island, home to vital marshlands, a nursing ground for shrimp and redfish.

After days of winds from Alex pushing oil toward the island and the rest of the Gulf Coast, the governor says oil is now even deeper into the marshy grass. The oil, he says, is killing the baby fish, along with the mangroves where they mature.

And the water here, before the spill, the governor says it would have been filled with fishermen; today, just oil.

JINDAL: You're going to see other areas where there's oil inside the -- inside the bay that's getting to these wetlands.

KAYE (on camera): And the further in it is the more damage it's going to cause.

JINDAL: Absolutely.

Absolutely and the second -- the second concern we've got, as this dies off, this is our natural barrier against tidal surge. Alex caused some damage. The next storm is going to cause more damage, because we're going to have less protection. That allows the tidal surge to come further into the Gulf, further into the bay.

KAYE (voice-over): Which spells more trouble for what the U.S. Wildlife and Service calls the most productive estuary in North America.

If the oily birds and sea turtles pulled out of here weeks ago are any indication, the odds of survival are grim. Days before Hurricane Alex, scientists surveyed Louisiana's coastal wetlands from the air, and found severe damage mostly confined to the outer edges of the marsh grass. Not anymore.

JINDAL: What we're worried about is the long-term impact of this oil in the water. There are millions of gallons of oil still in the water. We're worried about the subsea oil. We're also worried about the chemicals and the dispersants.

KAYE (on camera): Where we are right now is about 60 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River. That's the Gulf of Mexico right out there. And you can see a massive oily sheen on the surface of the water here still and big, brown globs of oil still floating here.

And just a moment ago, we saw a couple of dolphins swimming right through it all.

You just pulled this right out of this water here?

JINDAL: This literally just came out of this water. And here is what's frustrating. For -- from the very beginning -- we're over 70 days into this -- we have told them, you have to fight this oil at the passes. It's not rocket science. KAYE (voice-over): Over the last three years, Governor Jindal says Louisiana has spent $800 million in state money restoring the coastline. He is trying to protect the state's investment, but says Washington isn't helping.

(on camera): What's going on in Washington?

JINDAL: No, there's just no urgency. I think that -- I don't know -- maybe it's just because they don't see the oil down here. Maybe they haven't come down here and smelled it.

KAYE (voice-over): This Republican governor says he has been asking the federal government to approve a rock jetty to keep the oil away from Barataria Bay and the wetlands. Rock, he says, could have withstood the hurricane's waves. Instead, he says, the oil rolled right over the booms.

JINDAL: The mayor and I met with the President in person here in Louisiana. We thought we were going to get an answer in hours. Every day, they tell us the answer is coming tomorrow.

KAYE (on camera): And it's been over a month?


JINDAL: It's been over a month.

KAYE: Since that meeting with the President?

JINDAL: It's been -- it's been -- tomorrow will be a month since we met with the President. It's been over a month since we asked for permission to do this plan.

KAYE (voice-over): Governor Jindal says he has given Washington three different plans to stop the oil. No action yet.

(on camera): How frustrating is that for you?

JINDAL: Well, what is -- and what's incredibly frustrating is that, for us, this is a fight to protect our way of life. All we're saying to the federal government is, lead or get out of the way; either help us, or don't -- at least don't stop us.


COOPER: Well, given that this is basically just the first hurricane of the season, and it hit, you know, a long way away from here, how concerned is the governor about next -- what comes next?

KAYE: He's pretty concerned, because NOAA has said that we can expect 23 named storms this season --

COOPER: Right.

KAYE: -- 14 hurricanes, seven pretty major hurricanes, which would be winds upwards of 111 miles per hour. So, not only might those storms bring the oil closer to shore, Anderson, but they're also concerned -- the governor is very concerned about shutting down the containment operation, which they had to do --

COOPER: Right.

KAYE: -- for days before Alex even hit.

And, then, if you're out there in Barataria Bay - you've seen it -- the Gulf is right there.


KAYE: There's absolutely nothing, even after 73 days, nothing stopping that water --


KAYE: -- that oil-filled water from the Gulf coming into the bay, moving towards those wetlands.


KAYE: Absolutely nothing.

And to see those dolphins in the water swimming through is -- it just breaks your heart.


Randi Kaye, I appreciate it. We will -- we will keep at it.

And here's a striking number. More than 1.5 million gallons of dispersants have been used so far in the battle against the oil spill. That's according to the government's own Deepwater Horizon response Web site, right?

Well, now the EPA acknowledges that this is the most dispersants ever used in responding to an oil spill. And many people raised safety concerns about the type of dispersant BP is using, Corexit. Because of those concerns back in May, the EPA ordered BP to cut back its use of Corexit. They've tested it. They say it's safe.

So, has BP actually followed that order? Have they cut back, like the EPA ordered them to? Well, the EPA says yes.

But "Keeping Them Honest", when we looked at the actual numbers, the actual math, the numbers told us a very different story.

Here is Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember this figure: 75 percent. That's the amount of dispersant the Environmental Protection Agency told BP they had to cut back in using, 75 percent. That was about a month ago. And the EPA made it known they were taking a hard line, really being tough.

LISA JACKSON, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR: -- made it clear to BP last night that we expect nothing less. We expect to see a substantial reduction in the amount, overall amount, of dispersant used.

LAVANDERA: The EPA and Coast Guard say BP mostly complied, reducing its dispersant usage by 68 percent. But did they really? It turns out, not really.

We crunched the numbers. According to dispersant data released daily, between April 30th and May 26th, an average of more than 25,000 gallons of dispersant were used each day.

Since May 26th, the day EPA directed BP to cutback the daily average use has only dropped to a little more than 23,000 gallons a day. That's only a nine percent drop.

Gulf Coast environmentalists say federal agencies like the EPA and the Coast Guard haven't been tough enough on getting BP to scale back dispersant use.

AARON VILES, GULF RESTORATION NETWORK: This has never been done. So, this type of volume, this type of application, it's all really a giant science experiment and we're terribly concerned that in the long run the impacts are going to be significant and we just don't know right now what we're doing to this ecosystem.

LAVANDERA: How can BP and the EPA claim they've made these huge reductions in dispersant? It turns out, the devil is in the details. That EPA directive reads, "BP should reduce dispersant application by 75 percent from the maximum daily amount used." The maximum daily amount, that happened on May 23rd when 70,000 gallons were used. By far, the most ever put into the water.

So, they have significantly reduced the amount of dispersant used based on that one single day. But, on average, the decrease is much, much less. And even by the EPA's own standards, BP has gone over the 18,000 gallons a day limit it can use 50 percent of the time, getting permission from the Coast Guard each time.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am concerned and that's why I'm pressing the Coast Guard and the EPA to make public what their criteria is for use of dispersants, what the dispute may be between Coast Guard and EPA and what information, if any, that the oil industry has ever developed on this subject.

LAVANDERA: The Coast Guard has said the use of dispersants has been a strategic decision, a way of keeping the oil away from the shore line.


COOPER: It's amazing when you crunch the numbers like that it's a completely different story. I hadn't realized that that 75 percent figure they were talking about was just from the one day maximum amount that they had used. When you look at it on an average basis it's actually only 9 percent reduction.

LAVANDERA: Right. And you talk to a lot of people down here everyone is left with the impression that they're scaling back in general. But EPA says look, we saw that one day on May 23rd, 70,000 gallons and they were convinced that was going to become the norm. Every day you were going to be seeing 70,000 gallons a day of dispersant used and they wanted to cut back from that.

They're clearly comfortable with using anywhere between 15,000 and 20,000 gallons a day in this fight against the oil spill.

COOPER: They've done their studies, which they said they would do. They're still ongoing but their preliminary data, according to the EPA, is that this Corexit stuff is about the same as some of the other things.

LAVANDERA: Yes. Very preliminary. We talked to some other scientists who say, "Look, there still needs to be a lot more testing done." But we're up against the window now. I mean there's still several more weeks of testing that need to be done.

If these relief wells cap these wells by August, as we've talked about, you know we're probably going to come with the entire battle against this oil spill will have been used with these dispersants and they might be changing. If they change, it will be very, very late in the game.

COOPER: Yes. Ed Lavendera, great reporting as always. Ed thanks.


COOPER: More from the gulf coming up, including the exclusive "Big 360 Interview" with Jimmy Buffett, blasting BP while making it clear things are getting better.



COOPER: It's nice to see these people out swimming.

JIMMY BUFFETT: Yes. I mean, you know, that's one thing that people probably don't realize that, you know, the water has been tested and it's ok. People are swimming.


COOPER: Also tonight, the Al Gore investigation, police reopening a case against the former vice president. Why? What exactly are the allegations? We'll have the details and a timeline of the allegations, coming up.


COOPER: Some new information for you tonight in the police investigation involving former vice president Al Gore. As we reported last night, a massage therapist accused him of unwanted sexual contact. Authorities in Portland, Oregon initially closed the case but yesterday reopened it. And today they released a statement saying the decision to reopen the investigation was due to, quote, "procedural issues".

It's a pretty broad and somewhat vague; we've asked the Portland PD to clarify it. We haven't heard back from them yet.

We also wanted to know the details about the allegations made against Gore and about the woman who has made them.

Tonight, Joe Johns investigates.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The allegations against the former vice president are salacious and shocking. Here's the woman making the accusation. CNN does not normally identify anyone alleging sexual assault unless the person comes forward themselves. In this case, Molly Haggerty, a 54-year-old massage therapist in Oregon, is telling her story to "The National Enquirer".

In an interview she gave to the Portland police department in 2009, Haggerty says she was the victim of unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore. She said it happened three years earlier, on the night of October 24th, 2006 here at the Hotel Lucia. She said Gore was staying at the boutique hotel under the name of Mr. Stone and had requested a massage. At approximately 11:00 p.m. the woman said she entered Gore's hotel room, suite 903. Gore opened the door with a big smile and said, "Call me Al," the woman alleges.

She claims Gore made her uneasy from the start. He began dimming the lights way down to near darkness, she told police. She said she started to massage Gore, but claims it appeared he was demanding sexual favors.

According to the police, she said Gore grabbed my right hand and shoved it down under the sheet to his pubic area. She called his behavior angry and intimidating. She said she then tried to leave, but alleges Gore wrapped me in an inescapable embrace and caressed my back, and buttocks and breasts. She also said Gore forced an open mouth kiss on me.

Haggerty said she was afraid she was going to be raped. She said she eventually left the room but not before Gore allegedly told her, quote, "You know you want to do it."

(on camera): That interview took place last year. Early last month, Portland police say the woman contacted them and said she wanted to edit her statement. They say she also told them she was planning on taking her case to the media.

(voice-over): Haggerty's attorney apparently contacted police about the case as early as 2006 but the police say the attorney canceled three meetings that had been scheduled with detectives. The attorney also said they planned to take their case to civil court. On June 23rd, just last week, the police said, quote, "The case was not investigated any further because detectives concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations." Now the police say they're reopening the case because of procedural issues in last year's investigation.

Reached by CNN for comment, a spokeswoman for the former vice president said the decision to reopen the case will only benefit Mr. Gore. The spokeswoman added the following. "The Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading and inaccurate story generated by tabloids. Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago. He stands by that denial."

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, we'll continue to follow it.

Joe is following some other stories for us tonight in our "360 Bulletin". Joe what have you got?

JOHNS: Anderson, a deadly attack in Pakistan caught on tape. You can see the terror as people scatter at one of the country's holiest shrines. Three explosions killed dozens and wounded nearly 200 as they worshipped. Officials said they've identified the remains of two suicide bombers.

A New York federal judge has denied bail for two alleged Russian spies, a husband and wife who live in New Jersey. A third defendant of Yonkers, New York, was granted bail. Meantime, court documents say federal prosecutors have one of the suspects in the ring confessing.

Kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard, held captive for 18 years in the backyard of registered sex offender, will spend -- get $20 million to settle her claims against California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Dugard vanished in 1991 when she was 11 years old. She was found last August, along with her two daughters, fathered by her kidnapper.

On Capitol Hill, House lawmakers approved a bill, extending long-term jobless benefits through the end of November. A similar measure is stalled in the Senate.

So that's about it.

COOPER: All right, Joe. Thanks very much.

Up next -- all right, Joe. Thanks. Up next, my exclusive interview with Jimmy Buffett about the spill, the Gulf and his classic Margaritaville.


COOPER: If you were to be singing a song about what's happening or what you want people to be thinking about what's going on, what would you say?

BUFFETT: Well, I'd just say that when I wrote Margaritaville, all those tourists covered in oil, this is not what I had in mind.

COOPER: You were referring to suntan oil?

BUFFETT: Yes. I'd like for it to get back to the only oil on the beach is the suntan oil. You know?


COOPER: Jimmy Buffett was supposed to perform along the Alabama coast tonight at a concert meant to bring back tourists to the beach here -- beaches here. It was a free concert, a benefit concert. Hurricane Alex, though, ruined the plan. The show was postponed to July 11.

But that didn't keep Buffett away. He didn't want to disappoint his fans who had come anyway. Last night, he performed a free concert in Gulf Shores at his sister's restaurant. Thousands showed up. We found this video of it on YouTube.




COOPER: Buffett grew up along the Gulf. The Gulf is in his blood, and the oil in the water cuts close to his heart. I talked to him about that today. Here's part of my exclusive interview.


COOPER: You grew up around here?

BUFFETT: I did. I grew up -- I was born in Mississippi, grew up in Mobile, Alabama. Kind of cut my -- found my musical self on Bourbon Street and then moved to Florida. So --

COOPER: You actually worked as a busker in New Orleans, I read, as a street performer.

BUFFETT: I did. I did. I was a street performer in New Orleans and in Key West.

COOPER: When you see what's happening to New Orleans and when you see, you know, that five years after Katrina, yet again, it's threatened, it's hard to believe that this city is yet again being threatened.

BUFFETT: Yes. You know, it is. I mean, the first thing that comes up -- you're not human if anger isn't your first emotion, having grown up down here. But what are you going to do with it, I think, is the question. You know?

COOPER: Who do you get angry at? BUFFETT: You get angry at -- you get angry at people that -- I think, people in the extraction business is the logical place for anger to go. Because if they really had the -- if they really had the interests of the Gulf of Mexico and all of its entities at heart, they would have done a better job in the beginning. And I think all the evidence, in my humble opinion -- I'm no expert on it -- kind of leads to the fact that they didn't do that, and that's what angers me.

COOPER: Back to what's happening here, what do you make of the cleanup by BP?

BUFFETT: I don't know. I mean, I'm no expert on this, but I think that what I'm -- I think you've got to compare it to like -- what I heard that made the most sense to me is people that dealt with the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and what were the repercussions and how far after that did they actually keep the process in place? And I think that's -- I think you've got to keep their feet to the fire. I think that --

COOPER: You're worried that -- that long-term they're not going to be here?

BUFFETT: I don't know if they can get out of this one.

COOPER: We've been very frustrated as reporters from the lack of transparency at BP. I mean, they say they want to be transparent, and yet you know, they stop the top kill operation for 16 hours and don't tell anybody about it. You know?

BUFFETT: Yes. You know, the thing that got me thinking about it in the beginning was, you know, I knew that things were not kosher there when the fact was that when it first happened they're operating a mile down with robots. Well, how are they watching it? With video. Then they didn't release any video of it for ten days.

COOPER: Right. Right.

BUFFETT: I started right there going, you know, reminds me of people in the record business that used to tell me, you know, "Check's in the mail".

COOPER: You've been involved in environmental causes for a long time.


COOPER: But are you opposed to deepwater drilling?

BUFFETT: To deepwater, yes. I mean, I think that, you know, practically, you've got to look at it. Even George Bush said we were addicted to oil. And we've all got to accept that. You know, it's going to be a long, hard road to get off of this. It's been here for a while.

But the hope is -- I mean, I try to go to the other side of things to say, look at people. If you take that anger issue, you're just going to sit there and get mad and go to a blog or you're going to -- you know, we use technology to find out solutions to the crisis. We're always a crisis-oriented society historically. And there are things there.

You know, instead of just staying angry, what are you going to do?

And I've run into a lot of people. And that's -- my point here is to try to find people that are -- that are dealing with it. That's why I came down here, to do this show, was to say, you know, there's an economic crisis along with an ecological crisis. And so you've got to face that. That's something I can do something about.

I can't go stick my finger in the hole in the Gulf of Mexico, as much as I wish I could. Most people do. But I can make a lot of people come down here and save the Fourth of July weekend for the local community.

COOPER: The concert got canceled. What happened?

BUFFETT: Hurricane.

COOPER: Hurricane Alex.

BUFFETT: Jesus, you know. You come down --

COOPER: If it's not one event, it's another.

BUFFETT: But I came anyway because I knew I could come, and I knew there were a lot of people. I was reading the Internet. I'm hoarse from playing last night. But I knew there were people coming down here for the right reason. And, you know, I played at my sister's place. We had about 3,000 people. I did it.

COOPER: Last night?

BUFFETT: Last night. I came in --

COOPER: Your sister's place is in Pensacola?

BUFFETT: No. Gulf Shores. It's Lulu's. And she -- people were already booked in.

COOPER: Right.

BUFFETT: You know, we sold out every hotel room. People were coming for the right reason. It was a free show. And people still came, though they knew we weren't coming, because they thought it was the right thing to do. I admire that tremendously.

COOPER: It's nice to see people, you know, out swimming.

BUFFETT: Yes. I mean, you know, that's one thing that people probably don't realize that, you know, the water has been tested. It's OK. And people are swimming.

COOPER: So what is your message? It's important for people to come down, whether they're volunteering or whether they're just here to enjoy themselves.

BUFFETT: Yes. I mean, there's -- I think there's only 7,000 residents in Gulf Shores, Alabama. But you know, as I said, this is not the Gulf Shores of my youth. I mean, these buildings weren't here. But they are here.

But people come from a lot of other places and they -- and they consider this their beach, too. So I think that the best thing that they can do now is to come to their beach, you know. And people that don't know it, come and discover it in a kind of quasi-state of, you know, concern and crisis and do something about getting it back. They'll feel better about it, and it will be their beach. You know?

COOPER: Margaritaville is alive and well?

BUFFETT: Margaritaville is alive and well, and I think we'll be around for a while. The good thing about it is, at the end of a hard day, people still need a drink and a couple of -- a couple of minutes to relax. And that's what we do.


COOPER: I talked a lot more to Jimmy Buffett. We'll have more of the interview coming up in just a moment.

I asked him if he thinks BP was telling Americans the truth about how bad the spill was from the beginning. His answer is pretty funny, next.


COOPER: Well, the place that Jimmy Buffett long ago put on the musical map is Margaritaville, and right now it's fighting to stay on the map as a tourist destination. Buffett grew up in the Gulf and Mobile, Alabama, and a lot of places around here. Its beaches are practically part of his DNA.

That's where part two of my exclusive interview picks up.


COOPER: You were saying this is the beach where you spent your misspent youth.


COOPER: What's it like seeing tar balls?


BUFFETT: It's depressing as hell, you know? I mean -- yes. I mean, it's -- you know, my first thought is, you know, I -- my scientist guys tell me it's the dispersants that are the problems. You know? I've got, you know, people that I deal with over in Mississippi and down in Florida say it's better for it to come on the beach. Then you can clean it up. But the dispersants, they -- nobody knows the long-range impact of that, what it's going to do to the food source and the bird life here. That's the big question. And nobody has the answer to that. But seeing it on the beach, you just go, God, you know.

COOPER: Had you ever seen tar balls like this on the beach?

BUFFETT: Yes. You know, it reminds me of the old days when tankers would come by and discharge their bilges. You'd see this kind of stuff, you know, but not to this degree. You know?

And then you look out there, and then the ocean looks pretty clean. But you know, it's just -- yes, it is depressing to see this. But I try not to be there, and I try to go -- you know, who's going to clean this up and how is it going to -- now that it's here, where does it go, you know? And then you start asking those questions and how can I help there? Who's doing it and what can I do to help them?

COOPER: When you first heard about the disaster, did you think it would last this long?

BUFFETT: I knew -- you know what? I just thought, you know -- I've been in show business a long time and I know liars when I hear them, you know. And I -- you know, that thing couldn't have blown up without -- I thought they were lying in the beginning. That was just me personally.

COOPER: When you heard 1,000 barrels --

BUFFETT: Total lie. That's what I thought.


BUFFETT: You know, I thought it's like body counts in Iraq or anything else. Everybody is going to underestimate what's going on. And that was my main concern.

And then when you started getting into the fact, and I was talking to people, you know, you started seeing that this was something, you know, it kind of like reminds me of the shuttle thing. There was a lot going wrong before this happened. And that -- you know -- it's a simple, frustrating question; why? That people, if you're going to go do this.

And you're asking about deepwater drilling. Somebody, and I'm sure you've seen it, there's a graph that shows world consumption of oil, American consumption of oil, what we produce and what actually comes out of deepwater drilling, and it's little -- little, little amount.

So, it begs the question -- hopefully, you know, on the other side of this, maybe finally people realize we've got to do something, though it may be a generational thing to find other sources of energy. And they're out there. You know, whether oil companies are going to go get them, that's the big question.

COOPER: You're opening up -- you've opened up a hotel in Pensacola. BUFFETT: Yes. Great timing.

COOPER: Did you think about maybe delaying it at all?

BUFFETT: No. I mean, you know, it goes back to our partners down there from Pensacola. I'm from here. You know, I went down once with the governor to see it, because we were just opening up. And I just thought, you know, everybody -- the reaction was, well, are you leaving?

And I went, you know, we didn't leave New Orleans. We opened up and we served people who were trying to help clean up, and we got back into business. And it took us a few years, and we've lost money, but that's not the reason we're here, you know.

And so the same thing was happening over there. People were going, "Are you leaving?" No, we're here for the long run. And we are. So I'm going over there today and have lunch and check it out. And I'll be back next week.

So no, it never occurred to me that this was any kind of short-term thing. Again, I'm not a 'fraidy cat.

COOPER: This may be a stupid question, but -- one of many, probably, but if you were -- I mean, if you were to be singing a song about what's happening here now or about what you want people to be thinking about what's going on, what would you sing?

BUFFETT: Well, I just say that when I wrote Margaritaville all those tourists covered in oil, this is not what I had in mind. No.

COOPER: You were talking about suntan oil?

BUFFETT: Yes. And I'd like for it to get back to the only oil on the beaches is suntan oil, you know.

I hadn't thought about it. I mean, I've been -- I've been thinking about what to do. What I've been doing is kind of putting a little -- as people go to my shows know, whether it's this or something after this, if there's something out there, I like the old Jonathan Swift satirical pen. I can interject into my songs little quirks. And people pick up on what I'm talking about, you know.

I mean, I can't say it on TV, but there's one I'm doing now. You know, what's it, ten years after the millennium, and the end may be coming soon. We should be living like "The Jetsons" but we're being screwed by oil tycoons. So you know, they get it and there's a large applause when that line goes out.

COOPER: Did you clean up the language?

BUFFETT: I paraphrased that.

COOPER: OK. I sensed that.

BUFFETT: But if you want to hear it, you can over on Radio Margarita and hear the real thing. It emits emotion. It does. And you know, but it's in a -- it's in a context of fun, and that's what, you know, I've always done. It's fun but it's like, this is a Mardi Gras culture. And people are used to that. You know, I mean --

COOPER: And it's important for people -- and it's OK to have fun now.

BUFFETT: Absolutely.

COOPER: It's important to.

BUFFETT: And musicians and entertainers have long -- you know, that's -- the best thing they could do is come down and kind of give these people a little bit of relief from the hard job ahead.


COOPER: And that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.