Chris Matthews talked to Mike Papantonio about the rhetoric coming from the administration and BP on whether this volcano of oil gushing into the Gulf
May 25, 2010

Chris Matthews talked to Mike Papantonio about the rhetoric coming from the administration and BP on whether this volcano of oil gushing into the Gulf is going to actually be able to stopped or not and Pap is not so optimistic.

I'm so disgusted by this I'm beyond words. Why they didn't let Louisiana start putting up the berms to keep this oil out two weeks ago is beyond me and these dispersants they're allowing to be used are doing nothing but helping BP cover up how bad the oil spill is along with poisoning the waters of the Gulf.

The Obama administration has dropped the ball on this one and that's putting it mildly. All I've seen from BP is them trying to minimize how much oil is coming to the surface so no one knows how bad the leak is with these dispersants and thus minimizing how badly they might be sued and worrying about how much oil they can still pull from the reserve.

I'm no expert on any of this obviously but the response with this disaster has been horrid IMO. As Digby pointed to in one of her posts which had a link to a KOS diary with too much cursing to be safe for work, they're not even putting up the proper booming to stop the oil.

If I'd wanted Mrs. "Drill Baby Drill" with the response to something like this I'd have voted for McCain and Palin. I don't think they'd have been any better in responding to this disaster, but right now it's hard to say how any response could be much worse.

I realize we might not be able to stop what's pouring into the ocean but there's no way in hell more could not have been done and still could be done to contain it.

I also want to know if anyone is taking a better look at Kevin Costner's oil-extracting machine to clean this mess up. The media has been pretty well mute on whether that looks like it might work or not and what the progress is on getting those machines out there pulling the oil out of the marshes and other areas if it does work.

Transcript via Lexis Nexis below the fold.

MATTHEWS: Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, who has filed a class action suit in three states on behalf of fishermen, oystermen and other business owners affected by the gulf spill.

Mike, thank you for coming back. That thought I had wasn`t meant to be clever -- They`re in over their head. I don`t know, based upon a long conversation today with Bob Bee (ph), who knows this stuff, the guy from Berkeley, that they have the capacity, that there is any existing capacity to stop this leak.

MIKE PAPANTONIO, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILIES SUING BP: Well, you know, I have great respect for David Axelrod. I know you do, too, Chris. But it`s wishful thinking. What we just hear is wishful thinking.

Look, the bad news is, you have people like Matthew Simmons (ph), very well respected, says unequivocally that you can`t stop this leak. You can`t stop the leak until the two pressure gradients match up, until the well goes dry or until the pressure gradients match up. He says you can talk about it. It sounds good. You can put a four-inch pipe in there and tell somebody you`re doing something. You talk about Dr. Chu and what a clever man he is. You can talk about this wish to get along. But the truth is, if you believe Matthew Simmons -- Simmons was the energy adviser for George Bush, for God`s sake. This is not a tinfoil hat moonbat. He says this won`t stop.

I hope he`s wrong, Chris, but I hate to hear the talk coming from David Axelrod, like we`re all in this together and everything`s going to be OK. There are two different issues here. Stop the leak. The other issue, though, is clean up the mess. They know how to clean up the mess. Back in Saudi Arabia, in 1994, they had a 700 million dollars -- 700 million gallon spill. And you know what they did, Chris? They brought in tankers from all over the world and they sucked it up out of the bays, and they treated it. And you know what? They cleaned up 85 percent of it.

You know where those tankers are right now? They`re filled up. They`re waiting for the market to change so they can go unload in Asia and Europe. Those tankers have the technology and the ability to suck it right out of the water and treat it.

There are two different issues. The leak may never stop. But for Axelrod not to address the real problem -- the entire gulf coast is dying because right now, Obama has the bully pulpit. You want -- you want to know the most -- the most effective thing Obama has control of, that`s the bully pulpit, and he needs to sound like Huey Long right now, not Gandhi. We`re tired of the Gandhi speech. We`re tired of kumbaya. I`m tired of the David Axelrods saying we have Dr. Chu and we`re going to solve this problem.

You can`t -- you can`t even taste the anger down here. It`s beyond belief. People are angry about the fact we have brown pelicans so soaked that they have to hobble around on their knees. They can`t even fly. Pelican eggs found in Louisiana nesting grounds that are completely destroyed. Virtually impossible to clean up those areas. Sixty-five miles of shoreline is covered in oil today, Chris. Cleanup workers are being hospitalized because of the toxins involved.

And Axelrod tells us that he`s trying. Look, I respect David Axelrod. I respect Obama. But we have to be honest with ourselves. He needs to use the bully pulpit to do what he does best, sound like Huey Long...


PAPANTONIO: ... not like Gandhi, and you`ll see those tankers come to this gulf.

MATTHEWS: Well, I -- Huey Long had some strengths, and one was that he could rattle people up when they had to get rattled up. But let me -- here`s the question I have. If you`re right -- and that seems to be right -- that they can`t solve this problem, that all this talk from -- about they`re going to go down there and try to fix it this week and they`re going to have a six in ten chance, and maybe they`ll get around to it in two months, is all BS from BP -- if that`s the case, then this is horrific.

Have you any idea how much oil will come out of the ground? I`m estimating, if you just double what`s come out already because it`s two more months of one month`s effort, we`re up to almost 200 million gallons of oil in that bay.


MATTHEWS: In the gulf.

PAPANTONIO: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And if you figure it`s never going stop until it`s empty, how deep -- how much oil is that?

PAPANTONIO: I can`t give you that answer.

MATTHEWS: I don`t even know how to...


PAPANTONIO: It`s -- look, our people are telling us, based on the photos, the camera work that they finally saw at the bottom of the gulf, that it could be as high as four million gallons a day. And you still have BP and you still have the government talking like it`s 250,000 gallons. They know it`s not. But why is there this relationship between government and BP? This is a corporate felon. These people...

MATTHEWS: You know what -- you know what I think the answer is? Once again, we`ve allowed a -- you know, "Too big to fail"? We`ve got it in the oil industry now. The only people we can go to is the oil company that caused the trouble to solve the problem. You know, it`s like getting Al Capone to clean up Chicago. I mean, it`s just unbelievable, you (ph) asking it. Anyway, Mike Papantonio, thank you, sir. I think you`re right on the emotional level. I think you`re right on the facts.

Can you help us out?

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