Return to Transcripts main page
CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Blowout: The Gulf Oil Disaster. Aired 9-10:00p ET.
Aired April 14, 2015 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A deadly disaster.
TYRONE BENTON, DEEPWATER HORIZON SURVIVOR: I have never been so scared in my whole entire life.
GRIFFIN: Families devastated.
SHELLEY ANDERSON, JASON ANDERSON'S WIFE: They don't have to miss him the way I do.
GRIFFIN: The worst environmental catastrophe in American history.
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The (inaudible), it went on for miles.
GRIFFIN: A nation watches in horror, a tide of oil hit shore.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Heart breaking new pictures coming in from the Gulf coast.
GRIFFIN: Now, five years later, we return to the Gulf. As CNN investigates...
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm curious to get in the water now.
GRIFFIN: The aftermath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there's the clean up site.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Gulf is recovering strongly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In their world, the Gulf is not bad.
GRIFFIN: Is it really over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no idea how this is going to end.
GRIFFIN: I'm Drew Griffin. Tonight, Blowout, The Gulf Oil Disaster.
It rose over the gleaning waters of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 30 stories high and 48 miles off shore. The Deepwater Horizon, a premier vessel, drilling deep into the ocean floor. Shelley Anderson's husband Jason, helped supervise the drilling.
S. ANDERSON: It is the best. He loved it, it was in his blood and he didn't want to do anything else.
KEITH JONES: That's where the oil companies put their best and brightest.
GRIFFIN: Keith Jones' son Gordon was a mud engineer onboard.
JONES: The deeper it goes, the more talented and able they want their cruise to be.
GRIFFIN: More talented to handle to rigorous and ambitious work. For more then two months they had been drilling the Macondo Well, a reservoir of millions of barrels of oil and natural gas, almost three miles below the ocean floor. The well belong to the British oil giant B.P. B.P.'s two partners, Transocean, which owned the rig that was drilling the well and Halliburton, which was contracted to seal it.
Home videos captured life onboard, here the crew became like family, working side by side, weeks on end.
BENTON: That was one of the best rigs out there.
GRIFFIN: Tyrone Benton operated the rig's highly technical underwater vehicle.
GRIFFIN: Did you also think it was, at the time, one of the safest?
BENTON: Of course. I did.
GRIFFIN: April 20th, 2010, just after 9 p.m., with drilling complete, the crew of the Deepwater Horizon entered the final stages of sealing in the well.
BENTON: It was just a regular routine day. We went knocking off. (inaudible) supper, took a shower, just unwinding.
GRIFFIN: For many, this was the end of the assignment. They would go home the next day.
BENTON: Got the drift off to sleep. And next thing you know, boom. The loudest bang I have ever heard. The next think you know, I hear that dreadful sound of train whistle. If you ever hear a train whistle on a rig, that's a blowout.
GRIFFIN: At an oil rig, it was the unthinkable, a blowout. Sending a torrent of highly pressurized oil and gas, racing uncontrollably to the surface.
DANIEL BARRON, DEEPWATER HORIZON CREW MEMBER: You're shaking and the whole rig is moving and, you know, things are falling down and you're hearing people screaming and yelling. It is complete pandemonium.
ANTHONY GERVASIO, BANKSTON'S ENGINEER: By the time I could say, "Holy crap", that's when the big explosion went off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rig exploding. The rig has blown.
GRIFFIN: Anthony Gervasio turn towards the rig and saw this. He was onboard the Horizon's supply ship, the Bankston, as the rig exploded.
GERVASIO: It actually ripped the ceiling off the wall.
GRIFFIN: As Bankston crew members recorded the irruption, the crew on the Deepwater Horizon scrambled for their lives.
BARRON: Something that you'd never expect seeing when you're in shocked.
BENTON: And all I could do is just can brace myself for the next explosion. I have never been so scared in my whole entire life.
[21:05:02] BARRON: (inaudible) watch this going there, this can be, this can't, you know, you -- don't even know how to explain it. I mean, you just -- you're in terror.
BENTON: I hear the train whistle again, and it's getting louder, and it's getting louder. And short enough, it explodes. I was afraid that this is it.
GRIFFIN: The crew rushes to the rig's two escape boats.
BENTON: Yeah, I turn around and the whole tower was (inaudible) go for the flames. 400, 500, 600 feet, just nothing but flames.
GERVASIO: And at that point, I saw one person jumping in. He's life jacket has reflected tape, which makes it like a spotlight in the water.
GRIFFIN: A white line falling off the rig and then a crew member in a life jacket jumping for this life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a man in the water. Man overboard.
GRIFFIN: Gervasio launched the Bankston small rescue boat.
GERVASIO: The water was on fire from the oil. The first person we grabbed, got him on the boat and we started heading to the next person.
GRIFFIN: As the Deepwater Horizon burned, there was other confusion on the lifeboats.
BENTON: They're take names, trying to get account of everyone. But you really can't get account of everyone, because you have people jump and overboard.
BARRON: That was part of the worst part of it, is being in a lifeboat. It's like you're almost waiting to die. There's people screaming, you know, put it in the water and let's go and it's filling up with smoke and you can feel the heat from the fire.
GRIFFIN: Life rafts, loaded with survivors, all heading to the deck of the Bankston, where a head count begin.
BENTON: I sat at the back of that supply boat, just looking at it burn and listen to the explosions, all night.
GRIFFIN: The surviving crew members looked around and realized, they were not all there.
JONES: It was Gordon's rig and that Gordon was unaccounted for.
GRIFFIN: Hours after the blowout of crew of the Deepwater Horizon watched explosions on the rig, reaching high into the nigh sky. Millions of millions of barrels of highly pressurized oil and gas were in uncontrollable torrent of flame.
GERVASIO: People are in shock.
GRIFFIN: Anthony Gervasio, helped rescue the oil workers.
GERVASIO: They were doing roll call, they were doing (inaudible).
BENTON: And there were a few guys that we just didn't hear from.
GRIFFIN: 126 crew members have been onboard the Deepwater Horizon when the well blew out. As the roll call continued, the crew realized, not all 126 had made it off.
GARVASIO: That's when we -- they knew that there was 11 missing.
GRIFFIN: And I assume some of them were your friends.
BENTON: Yeah. They were -- they're closer to me than family. And some of where trying on getting off the rig, just good to be here next day.
GRIFFIN: Families waiting on shore were in the dark, the crew told to make no phone calls until it was confirmed, 11 men were actually missing.
BENTON: My wife didn't have a clue on if was alive or dead.
GRIFFIN: Tyrone Benton remembers it was daylight when he finally called his wife.
You remember the call?
BENTON: Yeah, I do. I remember it like it was yesterday. She was still happy to hear my voice, I told our baby I'm OK. And I will be home. And I will be home. And that was it.
ANDERSON: Officials now, few of the 11 workers missing since Tuesday's explosion may have been unable to escape when the blast occurred.
GRIFFIN: Even as the coast guard searched for the missing, most knew it would have been impossible for anyone to survive. When did you find out that he's not only missing, he's gone?
S. ANDERSON: Days, days. There was a starting point where I just knew, but I pretend not to. Mostly for everybody else's sake but, we just waited for that word, that official word that the coast guard had stopped searching.
GRIFFIN: The bodies of the missing men were never recovered, not Shelley Anderson's husband Jason, and not Keith Jones' son, Gordon.
JONES: We didn't have anything, (inaudible) out of trace of anything. We have picture, we have videos, we have -- I have the gifts that Gordon gave me over the years that are precious to me. But it's a greater loss, somehow, not to have anything.
GRIFFIN: Five years later, Shelley Anderson has come to realized, her husband predicted his faith.
[21:15:06] After the fact you learn what he told his dad.
S. ANDERSON: Yes. That they were doing some things that he didn't think was right. And that they are doing some things that he didn't think was right and it's going to get somebody killed.
GRIFFIN: He said those words?
S. ANDERSON: To his dad, not to me.
RICHARD LAZARUS, EXEC. DR. OIL SPILL COMMISSION: It was a general sense of a rush, a pressure of not taking the time to be careful.
GRIFFIN: Richard Lazarus, wrote the official presidential commission report on the disaster. A crew member's e-mail, uncovered by that commission said the operation was "flying by the seat of our pants."
LAZARUS: There's no question of culture of let's get this done as quickly as possible. Because the quicker you get it done, the more quickly you get home and you spend less money on the development stage of the well.
GRIFFIN: The project was behind schedule, over budget and (inaudible) $1 million a day.
BENTON: They were doing a lot of short cuts and I wasn't aware of those shortcuts until now. And it make me so angry to know that they didn't think of our lives as that important. You know, it hurts.
GRIFFIN: But shortcuts were only part of the problem.
LAZARUS: What we saw really was more of the systemic failure, that was expressed by individual incorrect decisions, but there are whole series of them.
GRIFFIN: Among the findings, the cement seal at the bottom of the well had failed, the final pressure test to determine the well stability was misinterpreted. The rig crew missed a warning kick of first sign of pressure coming from the well, the final line of defense against disaster, the blowout preventer didn't work.
Who is ultimately responsible for this accident?
LAZARUS: I think B.P. is the one with the ultimate responsibility. And it was their well, they were in charge of the drilling, that they're in charge of the process, so they're ultimately responsible for it. They are the ones who made the mistakes. They're not the only ones. Halliburton, we think has a major responsibility here as well. And out conclusion was, their cement failed.
We find total mistakes at Transocean has made in terms of the training of their personnel.
GRIFFIN: In April of 2010, there was much more to deal with than assigning blame. With the explosion of the well, another crisis was brewing.
NAPOLITANO: The (inaudible), the first thing you saw was the (inaudible).
GRIFFIN: Deep under water, an unprecedented environment was taking shape, a hurricane of pollution was building on the Gulf.
GRIFFIN: The inferno that was once the Deepwater Horizon, only stopped burning when it sunk to the ocean floor. The fire was out, but the disaster was just beginning. Oil spreading from miles across the Gulf. Louisiana, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser feared what was coming.
BILLY NUNGESSER, PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT: And it did surfaced and it was out there offshore, every along this coast was worried that it was coming to shore.
GRIFFIN: Then came the image that horrified Americans. Live underwater picture of the well itself, gushing oil.
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: CNN has that shot in the corner of the television. All the time it's horrific.
GRIFFIN: Janet Napolitano was head of Homeland Security.
NAPOLITANO: B.P. alerted us to additional oil leaking from their deep underwater well.
GRIFFIN: But the federal government could do almost nothing to stop the relentless flow.
NAPOLITANO: There a very confusing statute that came into play and it said that B.P. was the responsible party, therefore they were our partner.
GRIFFIN: In other words, the government had to relay on the polluter, B.P. to fix it.
NUNGESSER: It was a foreign company that came here and seem to be making all the decisions and that's unfortunate.
GRIFFIN: Juliette Kayyem was in charge of coordinating the government's response.
And there was no other way?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No other way. I mean, so you get rid B.P., who do we have to close darn well?
GRIFFIN: But B.P. didn't have a quick solution.
NAPOLITANO: They may have had a plan, but they certainly had never practiced it, executed it, equip for it, for a rig of this size, drilling at this dept, experience a catastrophic failure.
GRIFFIN: How catastrophic?
DOUG SUTTLES, B.P. COO, EXPLANATION AND PRODUCTION: When the event first started, out best estimate at that time was 1,000 barrels a day, but as we begin to gathered more data, we actually revise that number to 5,000 barrels a day.
GRIFFIN: The initial estimate said, the Macondo well was releasing 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf. But internally, B.P. leadership had been warned, the leak could be as great as 70,000 barrels a day.
KAYYEM: If there was anything that we could redo in those early days, it would be, you know, don't trust the numbers.
GRIFFIN: As this image run day after day on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY HAYWOOD, CEO, B.P.: I'm Tony Haywood. B.P. has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the Gulf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: The oil company launched a P.R. campaign in the midst of the uncontrollable disaster. Then B.P. CEO, Tony Haywood made a very poor choice of words.
HAYWOOD: There's no one who wants thing over more than I do, you know, I like my life back.
K. JONES: I lost my son on the Deepwater Horizon, that's the life we want back. But he didn't. He wanted his back.
[21:25:02] KAYYEM: There was the B.P. of wanting to get their life back. There was the B.P. of yacht clubs and sailing lessons that you looked at and just thought they're not getting it. They're not getting it. GRIFFIN: Out in the Gulf, a battle to clean up the oil waged on with little success. The slick was intentionally set on fire, workers on boats tried to vacuum and scope it up. Finally the U.S. government made a controversial decision, it would allow B.P. to use a chemical dispersion sprayed in huge quantities to break the oil out.
SAMANTHA JOYE, OCEANOGRAPHER: The air was toxic. The water was not this crystal magnificent blue.
GRIFFIN: Oceanographer Mandy Joye and her team have worked for 20 years in the Gulf. She says no one could grasp just how much oil was out there.
JOYE: People were so sick they had to go into their bunk. And then there were the birds and the sea turtles that you saw, covered in oil.
COUSTEAU: You could see the extent of how much oil was out there. I think that was the moment for me when I realize that this was an environmental disaster, unlike anything I had every seen.
GRIFFIN: Ocean conservation is to believe Cousteau saw what was happening in the surface. As the oil flout, he took a dive to find out what was happening underwater.
COUSTEAU: I don't want to have to be here. And if I was here, I don't want to be doing like, you know, free diving of one of these rigs.
We were in full vulcanized dry suits, hard helmets on. Because not only the oil is toxic, the dispersant is neurotic as well.
The oil isn't confined in the surface. It is distributing throughout the water column.
The whole purpose is to help to world recognize that there is not just the oil of the surface, but there's a lot more that's going on beneath the surface. And seeing that oily mess just descending from the surface down, as far as I can see jellyfish, how dead jellyfish covered in oil, algae, fish, everywhere you looked, there were just devastation.
KAYYEM: Once that oil hit shore, we lost the narrative.
GRIFFIN: When it hit, marshes were blackened, birds and fish were dying. The government couldn't contain the disaster or control the message.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's hard to look at heart breaking new pictures coming in from the Gulf Coast.
KAYYEM: We lost the narrative to CNN. I mean, it was, you know, it was an oil (inaudible) in every single day. We knew that was coming, we just hadn't prepared everyone for it.
GRIFFIN: For more than two months, B.P. engineers had worked day and night, trying and failing to find a way to stop the oil. Underwater operations involving huge caps and huge risks delicately put in motion.
LAZARUS: There was a real risk that would cause an explosion within the reservoir and leave this uncontrolled spill. They're watching, with just holding their breath.
GRIFFIN: Finally, on the 87th day of the spill, the oil stopped, the cap held.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A successful seal. B.P. says it has permanently plugged the well in the Gulf.
GRIFFIN: The total spill, a staggering total, more that 4 million barrels of oil. More than 1,000 miles of shoreline was covered in it. Tourist fled, the offshore oil industry was shutdown, fishing in the Gulf was halted. The economy of the Gulf was crumbled.
NUNGESSER: And that was something that just kind of drove a nail in the coffin of a lot of families that -- their son might have been a fisherman, their husband might have work offshore.
GRIFFIN: All anyone could do was look offshore and ask, would the Gulf ever recover?
GRIFFIN: From high above, five years after what has been called the worse environmental disaster in U.S. history, the water of the Gulf looks picture perfect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got a dolphin there.
GRIFFIN: That's a dolphin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure it is.
GRIFFIN: But is it? In the weeks after the blowout, ocean conservationists, Philippe Cousteau saw the Gulf at its worst.
COUSTEAU: My last memory of diving in the Gulf was surrounded by this oily red mess. We had to work full vulcanized dry suits, big hard helmets, basically it has (inaudible).
GRIFFIN: Now, he is back for another look. Around this artificial reef, under an oil reef, the Gulf is tinning with life.
COUSTEAU: Absolutely, awesome. So that was one hell of a dive.
The water was still beautiful and it just makes what I saw five years ago, all of them was not true.
GRIFFIN: But Cousteau knows, looks can be deceiving.
COUSTEAU: It's easy to be fooled by an image. One of the challenges with ocean conservation is the old adage how to sight, out of mind.
[21:35:04] And it's important to remember that that a lot of that oil now is not flouting in the surface, is not sticking to the marshes, but it is existing down at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
JOYE: We recently published the paper documenting that some of that oil is on the sea floor.
GRIFFIN: Oceanographer, Mandy Joye is using robots to track the remaining oil.
JOYE: We select the lot of sediment that we bring it back to the lab for experiments. The only way we can do it is to go out, collect sediment cores and then you can say, OK, we spilled oil here, here and here and then we extrapolate and we came up with about 10 million galloons.
GRIFFIN: And the area was as big as the state of Rhode Island Basin.
JOYE: It's bigger than that.
GRIFFIN: Research from Joye and others shows the oil is scattered in patches across more than 1,200 square miles of seabed.
JOYE: That's not going to stay put. It's going to move around. So is it better for it to be on the bottom than in the water column?
Frankly, they show us that we don't know.
GRIFFIN: Geofff Morell is B.P.'s Senior Vice President of communications.
You wish some of the oil is still on the ocean floor.
GEOFF MORELL, B.P.'S SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS: No.
GRIFFIN: 400 square miles, we don't know that?
GRIFFIN: BPs own studies have come to very different conclusions.
MORELL: The data that has been collected points to their being no missing oil. No layer of oil that spreads out across the Gulf floor but that any residual oil that still remains is around the wellhead in a tight radius it's about two kilometers and then small patches of tarmacs that are buried along the Gulf stage that are actually, at this point, few and far between.
GRIFFIN: But Cousteau believes the oil has spread throughout the ecosystem.
COUSTEAU: It is still in many cases in the sand along shore line, along the marshes and also existing on the microscopic seal. We may not be able to see that with the naked eye but it doesn't mean that it's not having a tremendous impact on the wildlife that exists in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
GRIFFIN: Assessing the impact of the spillers tricky even here.
You're saying you're stunned.
COUSTEAU: Five years ago when we were here, it was just a lush green grasses mangroves, very important bird nesting islands. And it was a true island not this spit of land.
GRIFFIN: Back then Cat Island was covered with nesting birds then suddenly it was covered with oil.
All that's left to this roots of this little tree stubs of mangroves. And, I mean, imagine this place is covered.
David Muth is with the national wildlife federation's coastal campaign.
DAVID MUTH: The mangroves begin to show scientist stress, fewer and fewer birds were able to nest. Until now, we're to the point that there's no mangroves living and there is no nesting going to here.
GRIFFIN: Was the oil to blame or the years of erosion that preceded the spill or both? It is hard to be sure. Proving the oil spill cost permanent damage to the environment and wildlife has been tricky.
Studies have found coral reefs showing signs of damage or decay, birds from pelicans to laughing gals, to seaside sparrows had experience declines and dolphins are dying at accelerated rates. We spotted this mother trying to revive her dead calf.
MUTH: We don't know what this baby dolphin died of.
GRIFFIN: There is no direct proof so far that B.P.'s huge oil spill will have a permanent negative effect on any species.
MORELL: The Gulf is clearly much more naturally resilient than we ever appreciate it.
GRIFFIN: B.P.'s conclusion, the Gulf is rebounding.
MORELL: We are not in any way trying to suggest that there was not an impact. They are clearly was birds, fish, turtles, sub sea vegetation and sediment species, all were impacted. There is no question about that. But they have also, according to the data, bounce back and are recovering strongly and there is no data that suggest they are any long-term population level impacts to any species.
GRIFFIN: The natural resource damage assessment trustees, government agencies studying the effects of the spill called B.P.'s report inappropriate as well as premature. Though the trustee's research is not complete, they said, "We know that the environmental effects of the spill are likely to last for generations."
GRIFFIN: The trustees sat, we don't know enough yet to draw the same conclusion that BP is drawing. And Noah (ph), thegovernment official that we talked who said, you know, BP is cherry picking its data.
[21:40: 08] MORRELL: We're not cherry-picking the data. If you look at the report we put out at the five-year mark, it shows things both positive and negative about the environment. So, this is not cherry- picking by any mean, this is the most comprehensive view of the Gulf.
GRIFFIN: Is the Gulf nearing recovery?
MUTH: You know, we are in the process of a long-term study of the effects of the B.P. oil. You can't do population level studies overnight. It takes time to look and see what's happening.
GRIFFIN: And when you're talking about showing the restored of values in the B.P. campaign, they're certainly not showing you this. They're not showing the Cat Island.
MUTH: No. They're not showing you this.
GRIFFIN: Coming up, five years later, the oil remains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to have you stay away from the hazardous material at the moment because it is a clean up site.
[21:45:07] GRIFFIN: Barataria Bay, Louisiana, the marshes and the shores of these small islands were once covered in oil. Today from our boat, we spot two dozen workers wearing face masks, shoveling, working on a stretch of beach. We pulled up to take a look.
How you doing? Doing good. Drew Griffin with CNN. Nice to meet you, sir.
This is Philippe Cousteau.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to have you stay away from the hazardous material at the moment because it is a clean up site.
GRIFFIN: The hazardous material turned out to be B.P.'s oil, a 90- foot long, 30,000 pound tarmac. We had a small tarball tested and it matched the oil from the spill.
The fact is five years later, there is still oil. Oil in big enough clumps that it needs to be dug up by a crew like this, digging down 30 inches, trying to take it and remove it.
MORRELL: The packets of tarmacs that still exist are in areas that are known to us but which redeem by the Federal Government to be better to leave alone there and let them be naturally exposed to -- through erosion and then for us to clean them.
So as they appear, we are finding them and removing them but none of them imposes a threat to human or aquatic life.
GRIFFIN: And is this going to go on for years and year?
MORRELL: However long it goes on, the company is committed to cleaning up that which is exposed and that which is Macondo oil.
GRIFFIN: At the end of the day, how much do you anticipate the still is going to cause B.P.? MORRELL: The company has provision $43 billion for all the liabilities associated with the spill. We have spent, thus far just in honoring our obligation to help restore the Gulf environment and economy, $28 billion.
GRIFFIN: Half of that $28 billion according to B.P. has been paid to settle hundreds of thousands of claims, businesses and individuals across the Gulf who suffered a financial loss as the result of the spill.
Third generation oysterman Mitch Jurisich runs one of the largest oyster operations in Louisiana is already settled for millions and he's using the money he says to rebuild his oyster bins.
MITCH JURISICH, OYSTERMAN: It's true, we're getting money from them and we are investing it. Well we are investing in this something we don't know if we're going to get back.
And the span is there and oyster lobby for some reason is not living. That's the fact.
GRIFFIN: Though fishing in the Gulf has improved overall, Jurisich fears an uncertain future.
JURISICH: We've been on a steady decline since the spill and we're looking about a 40 percent decrease from the previous year. What happens 10 years from now? What happens 15, 20 years from now?
GRIFFIN: Across the Mississippi on the east side of Louisiana's famed oyster grounds, it's a much bleaker story.
This is Pointe a la Hache, oysterman here aren't the biggest, in many cases, they're the smallest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work day for day. I didn't own a boat. I mean that somebody gave me as gift to go out there and survive. Make a living.
GRIFFIN: And five years later, you still got no oysters.
BYRON ENCALADE, FISHERMAN: No oysters and we can't even repair our boats. We can't afford to do that.
GRIFFIN: The oysters in the public grounds of Plaquemines Parish are not back. In a controversial move, the state of Louisiana tried to keep oil out by diverting fresh water in but freshwater's being blamed for killing the oysters.
Five years since, there hasn't been a harvest or a paycheck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't get nothing. I'm out in the cold.
GRIFFIN: Byron Encalade is suing B.P. Other fishermen here say, they are still waiting on settlement claims.
ENCALADE: We've been left behind. We've been left behind. Pointe a la Hache without oyster for five years now and no relief conceit, none whatsoever.
GRIFFIN: So were five years out, most in the country see those commercials.
GRIFFIN: The hope is back, food is good, beaches are clean. What's your message?
ENCALADE: My message would say come to the Pointe a la Hache and see our community just dying away.
GRIFFIN: Former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser who is now running for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana says this is the unseen damage of the B.P. oil spill.
[21:50:01] For many, a way of life that may be ending.
NUNGESSER: Louisiana seafood is the best in the world. And so the livelihood of a lot of people depend on it, not just the fishermen, people working in the restaurants, people at the (inaudible), it's a whole culture here and it's a whole way of life that for the last five years as it's comeback and again some, was it going to be a long term effects and will there be a drop off at some point that won't be sustainable and that's the end of question.
GRIFFIN: And your say not only is there a lingering fear but there's a lingering fear that's preventing reinvestment or investment in the future.
NUNGESSER: Well I think some, you know, some of the fishermen have sold their boats, some of them have opted to try to do other things and that's sad because, you know, a lot of this people, this is in their blood, it's been in their family for generations.
GRIFFIN: Out in the Gulf, one industry is coming back. Still ahead the hunt for oil is going deeper and farther offshore, but is it any safer.
KAYYEM: Could this happen again? Yes, the industry is the same industry.
GRIFFIN: Oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is back, so is B.P. Drilling deeper and even farther into the gulf but is it any safer.
MORRELL: We have really beefed up our training.
[21:55:05] We have far greater oversight of our operations now, including a 24/7 high tech monitoring facility in Houston. We've introduce new technology that clearly makes drilling safer but also, if God forbid, there were ever a problem in the future, we'll prevent it from ever manifesting itself into a spill of the size, and duration, and proportions that the Deepwater Horizon was.
GRIFFIN: B.P.'s Geoff Morrell insist, the company has learned its lesson.
MORRELL: We determine what were the causes of the accident, what our role and it was. But more broadly we looked at what we're things that we all could you to become safer as an industry when it came to offshore s drilling.
GRIFFIN: The industry has made voluntary improvements like deploying capping stacks around the world that can instantly stop the flow of oil. And there is a new federal agency and new regulations to oversee offshore drilling but congress has yet to give that agencies sufficient power.
LAZARUS: Congress has done absolutely nothing, zero. And this is just truly starting (ph) to me.
GRIFFIN: Richard Lazarus wrote the official government report on the oil spill. He's staff need recommendations to improve deep water drilling safety, only some of the recommendations have been acted on.
LAZARUS: Here we have extraordinary, it was the nation's biggest environmental catastrophe and five years later, congress has passed not one word of legislation to make any effort to go after and reduce the risk.
KAYYEM: The industry is the same industry, it wants its oil.
GRIFFIN: Juliette Kayyem who help guide White House response during this bill now teaches emergency response at Harvard.
KAYYEM: There's been no congressional changes.
GRIFFIN: So this could happen again?
KAYYEM: It could happen again. I mean, absolutely.
JONES: My prayer is that it won't happen again for we can know that.
Juliette Kayyem: Keith Jones has spent part of the last five years fighting the change legislation in memory of his son Gordon, he has been unsuccessful.
JONES: And as long as that oil was gushing congressmen or senators couldn't (inaudible) fast enough. That they cutoff that oil, you could feel the climate change, it was helpable.
GRIFFIN: Crisis over in their minds.
JONES: Right. My life is in two parts, the part before Gordon was killed and the part after Gordon was killed. And that part of my life is five years old now and it will always be different.
MORRELL: We feel terrible about what happen. This was an awful tragedy and we feel sorry for what they've gone through. I don't think there is anything I or anyone else at B.P. could say that wouldn't anyway ease their pain. The best that we could probably do for them is what we are now, which is to make sure that each and everyday, all 80,000 of us get up with a singular focus and that is to make sure that an accident like this or any other never happens again.
S. ANDERSON: They didn't know Jason. They don't have to love him the way I do. They don't have to miss him the way I do. They have to wish that he was here. Jason's memory is here.
GRIFFIN: Shelley Anderson who lost her husband in the blast, settled a lawsuit that will keep her and her two children financially secure.
S. ANDERSON: I was hospitalized. I was stressed. I have high blood pressure to the point where I can take care of my children. And I'm all they have left, so yes we settle it. I just can't go one anymore.
GRIFFIN: Emotionally her future is day by day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mama.
S. ANDERSON: How did you do?
GRIFFIN: She will hold bitterness for B.P. or the oil industry.
S. ANDERSON: Do you have homework?
I have a different life, not the one I planned for.
OK, so one fish was up there.
And I'm here, I have two wonderful children. And we are going to do the best we can in every single day.
GRIFFIN: It is much the same for the gulf itself is it truly back? No. Is it truly destroyed? No. It is a different life struggling, surviving. And it may never be the same.