Doug Brinkley: Administration Is Going To Come Out With A Large Gulf Recovery Act

Well this is one of the more encouraging things I've heard in a while about what's going to be done about this disaster in the Gulf. When I hear they'
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Well this is one of the more encouraging things I've heard in a while about what's going to be done about this disaster in the Gulf. When I hear they're doing more to contain and capture the oil that's already out there I'll believe the administration is finally handling this in a manner that's actually going to do some good.

Douglas Brinkley talked to Anderson Cooper about what the Obama administration is going to do to attempt to restore the Gulf coast after years and years of neglect. Even "Be the daddy" James Carville sounded impressed. I'm holding my applause until after I see some action and not talk because it's already absolutely inexcusable that they've allowed all the dispersants to be poured into the water and not done more to contain and collect the oil so far while these BP executives are allowed to go on the air and continue denying that the huge oil plumes in the Gulf even exist.

Holding BP accountable later (which I'll believe when I see it) doesn't mean much to the people whose lives have been devastated and the dead animals in the Gulf where the environment has already been destroyed.

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

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

One is close that well, get the -- capture as much oil as you can, keep the pressure on BP on the relief wells. Second is immediate cleanup. And I think more can be done by the Obama administration. And I -- and but I think the big third piece is coming, when President Obama comes to Florida and Alabama and Mississippi, and that is holding BP responsible for the Natural Resource Damage Act, for the Oil Spill Response Act. And, by that, I mean BP is going to end up paying somewhere from $10 billion to $15 billion, maybe even $20 billion, because they're going -- one of the only ways to save the Louisiana wetlands is going to be -- you know, the Mississippi River has been channelized for navigation.

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

BRINKLEY: No.

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

BRINKLEY: Yes. Yes.

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

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

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

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

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

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

BRINKLEY: Yes.

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

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

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

We're now going to have to redirect Mississippi River sediment and flood the marshlands to try to save them. That will occur after this -- the well gets capped, the relief wells are built. But, in the next year or two, this will be, for President Obama administration, I think something a Tennessee Valley Authority or a Saint Lawrence Seaway under Dwight Eisenhower, a major public works act, with BP...

(CROSSTALK)

BRINKLEY: ... the bill.

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