Show: THE ED SHOW
Date: February 17, 2015
Guest: Mollie Matteson, Todd Paglia, Ruth Conniff, Howard Dean, Mike
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carrying crude oil that derailed in West Virginia
yesterday, it still burning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A thousand people were evacuated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Official shutdown two water plant as a precaution.
ALEX SANDOR, WITNESS: And it start up a much cloud about the time --
burning now like that.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: And later, the gulf today, plenty (ph) of stories
of health the environmental concerns five years after the spill.
PJ HAHN, PELICAN COAST CONSULTING: I started to get -- having problems
with breathing and a weird rash that breaks out from time to time.
DEAN BLANCHARD, OWNER, DEAN BLANCHARD SEAFOOD: We still have mutilated
shrimp, shrimp with no eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, they still getting tar balls on the beach.
SCHULTZ: Plus, Scott Walker`s education cuts earn him extra credit with
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R) WISCONSIN: We actually care about the quality of the
education in our classroom, not the size of the education bureaucracy.
LEIGH MILLS, NBC 15 ANCHOR: Governor Walker`s proposed funding cuts to the
UW system are sparking controversy.
WALKER: As conservative, we shouldn`t take a back seat when it comes to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching.
We start tonight with the massive oil disaster in West Virginia.
At this hour, the fire is still burning after an oil train derailment.
This was the dramatic screen Monday afternoon near Mount Carbon, West
Virginia. A train carrying Bakken Shale oil from North Dakota, jumped the
track in a snowstorm, 19 of the cars caught fire after the derailment.
Governor Ray Tomblin declared the State of Emergency in the state of West
Virginia on Monday evening. 7 of the 26 derailed cars on the train did not
leak oil although there are major environmental concerns. An unknown
amount of oil spilled into the nearby Armstrong Creek. The creek feeds the
Kanawha River which provides water to the community.
No one was killed in the derailment but one person was injured. Tom
Costello of NBC News has the latest from West Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was a massive explosion that
rocks the West Virginia country side Monday afternoon.
A single train car carrying oil had slid off the track and then to the
nearby Kanawha River. Soon fire consumed the train, a nearby house and the
oil`s leak on the water.
SANDOR: When we saw the train explode, well, cars explode and it start up
a much cloud about the time -- burning now like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking News, the word out of Fayette County, West
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did hear from West Virginia State Police a few
minutes ago that as of right now there are no fatalities.
COSTELLO: The breaking news quickly dominated the local headlines. The
109 car train was carrying oil from North Dakota to Virginia. It went off
to tracks near Mount Carbon, West Virginia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of those cars that were carrying crude oil,
spilled into the river.
COSTELLO: With oil in the river, water treatment facilities downstream
quickly shut off their intake valves and warned residence not to drink
Meanwhile, roughly 200 people evacuated from the fire zone, many are taken
to a nearby high school.
CRAIG LOY, VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Right now, we`re still able to
operate our kitchen. We were able to store water before the intakes were
off so we have enough that we can actually prepare in clean with. However,
after the smell here that`s going to cause us a little bit concern on the
COSTELLO: The fire itself intense feeding up oil and giving up tremendous
heat in the middle of a West Virginia snowstorm. The challenge now,
stopping the leak and assessing how much oil leaked into the river.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUTLZ: And late this afternoon the water treatment plant was reopened,
2,000 people are still under a boil water advisory in the area. The West
Virginia disaster is just the latest in a long line of oil spill involving
This weekend a train carrying crude oil derailed on Northern Ontario, 29 of
the 100 cars jumped the tracks. Seven cars were still on fire Sunday
This derailment is similar to the scene in West Virginia. It happen in
Northern Canadian Wilderness so there was very little reporting. Overall,
2014 was a record year for oil spills involving trains.
Last year, there were a record 141 unintentional releases around the
country. It`s the highest level since record keeping started back in 1975.
Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania saw major spills. 2013 was a record
year, when it came to the volume of oil spilled.
This massive derailment near Casselton, North Dakota leak 400,000 gallons
alone. Overall, a record of 1.4 million gallon of oil leaked from trains
In response to these disasters, the government is proposing action. The
Department of Transportation once enhanced tanker car standards for
carrying oil. They include strengthening the cars, breaking controls and
speed restriction along the line.
The DOT-111 is the tanker model most commonly use today. These models have
been criticized by regulators and operators for years. The proposal that
the government is talking about would phase these cars out within two
Earlier today, CSX said the West Virginia train was using the newer model
CPC-1232 tanker cars.
In December, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York was proposing and pushing
for immediate action to oil trains. In June, Canada said it would move
forward with or without the United States to phase-out the DOT-111. Canada
will eliminate this train car by May of 2017.
More lawmakers need to get on board. There are serious safety concerns and
environmental concerns. The oil and gas industry is bringing in tanker
loads of oil, filled with oil which is the economy from the Bakken Shale.
And there is no reason they can`t pay for saver tanker car.
In fact, there are many cars that are carrying oil as I`m told that won`t
even designed to carry oil. There`s, of course, a lot of commodities are
that run on trains and a lot of product other than oil such as coal. So
there`s a lot of competition to get on this train. Is it the safest way to
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question, "Do we need immediate new regulations on oil trains?"
Text A for Yes, text B for No to 67622, leave a comment at our blog at
ed.msnbc.com and we`ll bring you result later on in the show.
For more on this, let me bring in Mollie Matteson. She`s a Senior
Scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. Also with us tonight,
Todd Paglia, he is the Executive Director of ForestEthics. Great to have
both of you with us tonight.
The inspection process if any of you could -- either one of you could shed
some light. Molly, you first, the inspection process of these trains.
In aviation for example, everything has to be signed off on, everything has
to be periodically check and rechecked depending on what you`re using the
aircraft for and how many hours the aircraft might run, you know, periodic
checks, whether you`re flying commercial or private. And I`ve wondered, if
the industry -- in the train industry has these kinds of restrictions.
There`s a hell of a lot difference between carrying corn from the middle of
a country and carrying oil. What`s your response to that Mollie?
MOLLIE MATTESON, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: Yeah. Well, part of the
issue was that, you know, the railroad have largely been left to do their
own inspections and then the federal regulators there is just -- not nearly
enough of them to do all the inspections that are needed across the
country, so that that`s one of the problem that we`re facing right now.
SCHULTZ: So we`re short on regulation, we`re short on inspectors and so,
do you think inspections would reduce the number of train mishaps that
we`re having and seeing carrying oil?
MATTESON: Well, it would help but I don`t think that it would stop the
problems that we`re having. As you said, the cars that were involved in
West Virginia accident where these newer, supposedly, safer CPC-1232 tank
cars and you can see what the result was when they got in a collision.
These are same tank cars that are involved in the Lynchburg, Virginia
accident last year in April where we had tank cars rupturing, exploding and
setting the James River on fire. So better inspection, yes, but we need a
lot more other changes as well.
SCHULTZ: Todd, what do we need? What regulations would curb the kind of
train that we`re seeing?
TODD PAGLIA, FORESTETHICS: I think what we need to look at actually, Ed,
is taking these railcars right off the rails. I don`t think there`s anyway
and in fact over the last several years, we`ve seen a bigger experiment
happened between the oil companies and the rail companies. The experiment
has been, can we haul 30,000 gallon containers through our cities and towns
filled with explosive oil and do it safely. And the answer has been a
This is not working. It`s not going to work. And my fear is that, we`re
going to have something like which happened in Lac-Megantic, Quebec happen
in U.S. city or town soon because this system is failing.
SCHULTZ: How would you move the oil?
PAGLIA: Well, I think there`s a certain, you know, there`s a certain part
of this that we have to we really wrap our heads around. The two oils that
are being move by rail are really extreme crude. They`re Bakken and tar
sand. They`re the most expensive, the dirtiest and the case of Bakken, the
So I think that there is a very strong argument that we don`t need these
oils, they are relatively small percentage of the overall oil usage in
United States. And if it`s too dangerous to transport safely, the answer
is right there. We can`t do this.
SCHULTZ: What about trucking?
PAGLIA: Oh, I think you end up with, you know, with even more problems if
you were to do that. I mean, everybody likes the idea of American-made
energy and that`s what, you know, the Bakken is supposed to promise.
But if we`re putting our lives on the line, the American-made energy, I
want to see more of its wind and solar and that`s something we can get
behind and as not as dangerous -- and if there`s just no way to do this
safely, the vortex in (ph).
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Mollie, this is been the big debate for those who are
proposing the Keystone XL pipeline and, of course, it`s on its way to the
President`s desk and it`s got a certain amount of time to sign it or veto
So the fact is, that pipeline is going over the aquifer and, of course, if
there was in disaster it would be irreversible. But they do claim that
pipelines are far safer than trains. You`re thoughts on that and does it
MATTESON: Well, first of all, pipelines are, you know, have their own
problems. They explode. They leak. Pipelines have not a great track
record in terms of safety.
The other thing is that, you know, it`s a false dichotomy here to say
pipelines versus oil trains versus whatever.
As Todd was saying, you know, these are extreme fossil fuel. We shouldn`t
be transporting them at all. We should be leaving them in the ground. And
so, I think the arguments that, you know, pipelines are safer is really a
false one. And actually, the industry would like to have all of the above
too. That`s really what they would like to see.
SCHULTZ: I mean, I`m just at the school of thought that if you had more
regulations and if you had more inspections, and if you run the world of
trains, the way you ran aircraft in this country, you wouldn`t have
anywhere near these kinds of problems.
Speed zones, no doubt, would make a difference. I think, Todd, because,
you know, but there`s so much pressure to get product on the trains.
They`re up against the clock, time is money to these trains.
PAGLIA: Yeah that`s...
SCHULTZ: So, it would seem to me that regulations would make a difference.
PAGLIA: Well, I think they would make a different. I don`t think you
eliminate the problem and I think the problem is dangerous needs to be
eliminated. And here`s the other thing you need to take into account on
the regulatory side of this.
These are extreme oils as I said before. They are the most expensive oils,
the most difficult to handle, the most arduous to clean up. And that is
exactly the kind of oil that they are going to scrimp and try to save money
o. And that means cutting safety regulations.
PAGLIA: So I think what we`re starting to see here is a little bit of the
massive influence of oil on our political system because no same person
would car (ph) this kind of oil all across the United States and North
America with the risk that is going to explode like he keeps doing and
think its OK. There`s nothing right about this and the only thing right
about it would be to shut this industry down.
SCHULTZ: OK. And, Mollie, we haven`t really heard a lot about and not too
many environmentalist or those who work closely with the environment
complain about trains. I mean, this disastrous are bringing more attention
to it. There really wasn`t much conversation before these disasters. What
do you make of that?
MATTESON: Well, we don`t have an argument with trains. Trains are very
useful and great for transporting certain things.
The argument here is about transporting these dangerous oils by train. And
the implications when you have them derailing and exploding and spilling
into waterways that have important (ph) drinking water as well as endanger
species which the Kanawha River does. So that`s the argument about oil
PAGLIA: And, Ed, if I can make a quick comment there. You know, we at
ForestEthics, we`ve mapped all the rail lines that carry crude. If you go
to forestethics.org, you can see a map of all the crude lines put in your
address and see how far you are away from the blast zone.
What we found is that 25 million people live within the blast zone, that`s
why you`re seeing this incredible up rising across North America, in the
U.S. and Canada against these trains because these are communities at risk.
They`re already in many cases and, you know, rough areas and marginal areas
along tracks and now they have bomb trains being drag to their
SCHULTZ: All right. Mollie Matteson, Todd Paglia, great to have both of
you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the screen.
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @edshow, like us on Facebook. We
appreciate that and we do pay attention to your comments.
Coming up. Conservatives circle the wagon around Scott Walker on
education. What he says and what he does maybe different.
Plus, an Ed Show series continues tonight. We look at the environmental
impact and health concerns in, "The Gulf Today 5 Year After The Spill".
BLANCHARD: Ed, if we tell you some of the stuff we`ve seen, you wouldn`t
believe it. I mean, I`ve seen birds fly and then liquid coming out of
birds. And all of the sudden, they wiggle a little bit and just crash and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was
honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long
after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district.
Her union contract said the last hired was the first fired. The last in
was the first out.
Well, I`m proud to tell you today that in Wisconsin, because of our
reforms, we didn`t just balance the budget. We`re now say in our schools,
there`s no more seniority or tenure. You can hire and fire whoever you
want. You pay based on performance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has told that story for years.
Walker has made teacher of the year Megan Sampson, the phase of Act 10.
His signature anti-worker, anti-union bill turns out Walker over stated the
honor to add a little drama to the whole thing.
Sampson was actually named outstanding first-year teacher by the Wisconsin
Council of Teachers of English.
It`s something New York Times Columnist Gail Collins pointed out in an
article last week. In the article, Collins also made the mistake of
blaming the 2010 Teacher Layoffs on Walker`s cuts to education.
Well, wait a minute now, here comes the folk that have his back, the right-
wing media. They were quick to point Walker didn`t take office until 2011
and they`re correct. As a result, Collins` column was widely mock on
There is good reason the right-wing media is coming out in full force to
defend Walker. And the latest NBC News Marist Poll`s conducted in three
key presidential caucuses and primary state, only two Republican candidates
got double digits in all three, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and her old buddy
In New Hampshire, Walker comes in second behind Bush with 15 percent. In
South Carolina, Walker comes in third behind Bush with 12 percent. In
Iowa, Walker comes in third behind Bush with 15 percent.
It`s important to note, Walker crushes Bush among Iowa voters who identify
as conservative or very conservative, in fact, by 10 percent. It make
sense, Walker is the poster child for the Republican slashing and starving
budget policy by protecting him and distracting the public from the issues
that really matter. They`re hoping to get one of their own into the White
House. It is interesting.
Other candidates on the right wing have not garnered such loyalty so fast.
Joining me tonight, Ruth Conniff, Editor-in-Chief of the Progressive
Magazine, also with us tonight, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Great
to have both of you with us.
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN, (D) VERMONT: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Ruth, you first. Interesting, what do we -- what`s getting lost
in the minutia (ph) of this teacher story? What do you make of it?
RUTH CONNIFF, THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, first of all. It`s
just amazing how the right-wing media coordinates and hammers, hammers,
hammers on the message because, you know, the fact the Gail Collins who`s a
funny writer in New York writes the funny column and gets one little detail
wrong. It`s not really the story, it was going on with Walker and
education in Wisconsin.
I mean, even the teacher of the year story which as you point out, is about
a teacher who self-nominated one of between 2 and 10 teachers in English
Department who are in their first year who self-nominated for this award
So this is not like somebody was picked out of the whole state as
outstanding and she was competing against other first year teachers not the
more senior teachers that he says, you know, shouldn`t have stuck around
when she was laid off.
Secondly, she wasn`t laid off. She got a notice during that period when
there were a lot of layoffs going on that she might be laid off. And this
happen as they adjust classroom sizes, as they do head counts at the
beginning of the year. She ended up staying. So she wasn`t laid off. She
wasn`t teacher of the year and these whole stories sort of falls apart.
Finally, because that "Last-In, First-Out" policy is a district by district
policy. They negotiate that individually and that time (ph) didn`t do
anything about that policy.
CONNIFF: So he denounce (ph) it. I mean, none of what he said was true.
What is true is that Walker is taking a hatchet (ph) to K-12 education in
Wisconsin and he is really the poster child for the privatization of
schools and the distraction of the education budget.
He`s famous now for striking the search for truth out of the mission of the
University of Wisconsin along with these $300 million cut that will
devastate this top tier university. But his K-12 cuts are even worst not
only is he cutting 130 million out of the K-12 budget in this next budget
he`s proposing. He`s opening the door statewide to school vouchers.
In Green Bay, School Choice Wisconsin has just issued an open record
request for all the personal data and all the kids in that district, so
they can solicit them to take out remaining public school...
CONNIFF: ... funds in Green Bay and take them to private school of school
SCHULTZ: Well, Governor Dean was that -- Governor Dean, will that litany
of facts (ph) that we just got, it looks to me like that Scott Walkers is
looking for some kind of political cover here. What do you make of he
keeps telling the story? Does he know he`s vulnerable here?
DEAN: He`s an interesting guy as far as I can tell. First of all, he`s
done a lousy job as a Governor, the job growth in Wisconsin well behind the
rest of the country.
He`s got a situation where he is now, not as Ruth pointed out, not just
cutting high school and K-12 education. He`s now cutting one of the
greatest universities in the country, big time. And this is not a small --
$300 million is not a small cut.
A guy who wants to talk about jobs and wants to get rid of the veterinary
school, the medical school, these are all things that their president of
the university mentioned that might have to go under these cuts. This is a
guy who is going to do what`s best for Scott Walker.
And I think he is - - actually, there`s a part of me that would love him to
be the nominee because I think it would beat the living hell out of him
because the American people were not stupid.
But I also would rather have a nominee on the Republicans side not that I`m
going to have anything to say about it, who would be a good president in
case we don`t win. And Scott Walker would be probably the worst president.
He would give George W. pretty run good for his money.
SCHULTZ: What do you -- that`s a statement in itself. What do you --
Governor Dean, what do you make of the fact that all of these right-wing
bloggers were so quick to his defense? And I have not seen any of the
other -- and there are some other -- well, actually all of them have set
some pretty risky or stupid things at onetime or another but they haven`t
gotten the defense that Walker has gotten. How do you see that?
DEAN: You know, I don`t know. For some reason, he is the -- I think he
kind of taking a (inaudible) the institutions that have made this country
great which is our universal public education, our public universities.
And there are a lot of very angry people out the right. I know because I
get all their tweets or idea until I figured out how to close their tweets
But, you know, these are just -- the right-wing is a very angry group of
people. And I think Scott Walker apparently is a good candidate for that
which makes -- and this is a really bad candidate for the 85 percent of us
that are not chronically angry about something.
I was just -- I think we want to get a really good solid, middle of the
road, thoughtful president who actually knows what they`re doing. And that
does not -- that description does not fit Scott Walker.
SCHULTZ: So Ruth, if Scott Walker has won three out of four elections in
Wisconsin, why would we believe that that states going to go blue in 2016?
How heavy a lift is that going to be for any democrat?
CONNIFF: Well, I mean, this is the great appeal of Scott Walker, right, as
they look at him as a blue state governor who`s been able to win and yet he
has this very right-wing politics so he was able to appeal to the base. He
sort of got this magic juice (ph) going now.
But, you know, Wisconsin has repeatedly, you know, I have to say at the
same time we were electing Scott Walker, again, we are electing Tammy
Baldwin as senator and we have always been politically divided state. And
I think that as Howard Dean points out.
You know, what Walker speaks to is this very dangerous and so far
successful formula in Wisconsin which is speaking to peoples` worst side
You know, he talks about not helping people get more health care, more
education. He`s cutting back on both of those things but he speaks to
their resentment of their neighbors who do have those things until
reducing, you know...
CONNIFF: ... drug testing welfare recipient, reducing health care even if
it cost us more to give people less health care and cutting into education,
cutting -- taking it to teachers because they have benefits that some --
private sector employees don`t have, has appealed to peoples` sense of
resentment and bitterness but it sure he`s not building a better state here
and it`s dangerous, well, more (ph) for the country.
DEAN: Well, also the other point, Ed, is that he has not had to run on a
presidential year, not still make a whole different thing, whole different
-- I think, you know, I think he`s a very polarizing guy. I mean people
either really like him as the far-right does where they really despise him.
And I think that`s not a good kind of person as you want as president of
the United States. I don`t think he`ll win in his home state if he wins
SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff, Governor Howard Dean, great to have you with us on
the Ed Show.
DEAN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your time.
Still ahead, part two of our week long series, "The Gulf Today 5 Years
After The Spill".
Tonight, the impact on the environments and the health issues people are
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLANCHARD: This whole shell fell off right here. There should be shell
that`s going all the way to the bottom. That`s a cancer right here you
SCHULTZ: That`s a cancer right there?
SCHULTZ: And can you tell by the color of the shell?
BLANCHARD: The shell is gone.
SCHULTZ: The shell is gone?
BLANCHARD: Yeah, you can feel it. Feel it right here. You can see that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
The President spoke just a short time ago after meeting with new Defense
Secretary Ashton Carter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We talked about wide range
of security challenges and opportunities that we face around the world,
everything from making sure that we are dismantling the ISIL, and not only
stabilizing the situation in Iraq but addressing the foreign fighter issue
and countering the narrative of violent extremism that has been
turbocharged through the internet.
We had a chance to talk about the situation throughout Ukraine. We also
had an opportunity to talk about how we maintain the strongest and most
effective military in the world and how we keep faith with our outstanding
men and women in uniform.
I could not be more confident that Ash Carter is going to do an outstanding
job to as Secretary of Defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And of course, Ashton Carter sworn in as Secretary of defense
today. Carter is the Obama administration support Secretary of Defense
replacing Chuck Hagel.
And also today, the United States has approved its first policy for selling
armed drones to allies.
The State Department says the United States is committed to stringent
standards for the sail, transport and subsequent use of U.S. origin
We`ll be right back with more on the Ed Show. Stay with us.
KATE ROGER, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Kate Rogers with your CNBC Market
Stocks ends with modest gain today, the Dow adds 28, the S&P 3 and the
NASDAQ rises 5 points.
A parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons reported a quarterly loss
earlier due to cross related to the deal that combined the two companies
have their (ph) sales growth sending shares up by more that 8 percent
And homebuilder`s sentiment unexpectedly fell this month to a four year
low. That`s as winter weather (inaudible) buying
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: And we are back.
Tonight in part two of our series, "The Gulf Today 5 Years After The
Spill". I met with residents who showed me what they see as the ongoing
environment issues in the region. Dean Blanchard one of the countries
largest shrimp buyers show us first hand how gulf shrimp are paring in the
wake of spill.
Over in Florida, seafood process as David Barbara (ph) discusses the impact
on marine life.
And PJ Hahn, former Director of Plaquemines Parish`s Coastal Zone
Management Department, he`s with us tonight and he shares his personal
health story. They all have concerns about the health of the environment
and the resident of the gulf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That fire is still burning on that rig which is said to
be leaking oil into the gulf. This was the coast guard begins to
investigate what went wrong.
SCHULTZ: Describe the impact on the environment from the spill five years
after the fact.
BLANCHARD: Ed, if we tell you some of the stuff we`ve seen, you wouldn`t
believe it. I mean, I`ve seen bird fly and then liquid coming out of bird
and all of sudden they wiggle a little bit and just crash and die.
SCHULTZ: The gulf today is no where near what it was before the spill.
HAHN: The Grand Isle as they refer to as bustling (ph) booming town. I
mean, it was awesome place. It`s still an awesome place to come visit for
the locals. But it was growing lifts and bounce, they got a wonderful
mayor that was really promoting the island and it was doing -- fabulous.
And then the when the oil spill came in it shut everything down.
SCHULTZ: You see the effects everywhere, from the environment to wildlife
to the seafood industry, into the health of the people. It seems and feels
What is the water quality right now?
HAHN: It`s messed up and you can see whenever you hit the bottom with a
wheel you can see oil coming from the bottom, you know, stuff like I mean.
This is sick.
SCHULTZ: One of the scary things about this is that the birds are still on
these islands coming in here feeding. So you could just imagine the
contamination that takes place within the wildlife, five years after the
Look how dark that is right there. This is stuff that`s been kick off from
the bottom by the prop. This is what its looks like.
Along the beach here in Grand Isle, Louisiana, there is evidence all over
the beach of the damaging effects of the spill.
Right here on the beach if I were to dig here, what would I find?
BLANCHARD: You find all this tar ball that they buried.
SCHULTZ: Tar balls?
BLANCHARD: Yes. Yes. You find tar balls buried. I mean, a lot of people
don`t let their kids on the beach because they, you know, that`s, you know,
kids get on beach they`ll have a little scoop shovel and they dig them up
all day long.
HAHN: Today, they still getting tar balls on the beach that they have to
get cleaned up. Every time we have anytime type of, you know, we can say a
hurricane, high energy environment that creates a little bit of a storm,
and pushes up against the shorelines. These guys come out here and find
tar balls. You will find tar balls all days out there.
SCHULTZ: It`s not unusual for these shrimp boats here at Grant Island to
come up with this in their nets
This is known as tar ball from a corexit that was put on the surface to
push the oil down. Now, all the oil is gathered like this and it`s on the
bottom and it ends up in shrimper`s nets, and they don`t like it.
This is the economic breadbasket of the region, shrimp.
What is it like here now? Is it there`s no shrimp?
BLANCHARD: Very little, very little. We`ve probably doing about 30
percent of what we did before. And it actually got a little bit better
last winter. You could see a couple of dolphin right there but used to
very common in beaches, you see a thousand of dolphins over here.
SCHULTZ: And what about the quality of the shrimp?
BLANCHARD: On the inside, water we`re still having mutilated shrimp,
shrimp with no eyes, shrimp with sore on him. On the outside, it`s getting
a little bit better.
SCHULTZ: So that it`s all rare.
BLANCHARD: That is not abnormal. That all going into the head. But
that`s a sore you got right here. That`s not normal.
SCHULTZ: That`s a sore and that`s not normal, right there.
BLANCHARD: This whole shell fell off right here. There should be shell as
going all the way to the bottom. That`s a cancer right here you got.
SCHULTZ: That`s a cancer right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
SCHULTZ: And you could tell by the color of the shell?
BLANCHARD: The shell has gone.
SCHULTZ: The shell is gone?
BLANCHARD: Yeah. You feel it. Feel it right here. You see that is shell
is off. See the shell, right here.
BLANCHARD: You can see enough.
SCHULTZ: Now, what would do wit that?
BLANCHARD: (Inaudible) shell all over.
SCHULTZ: What would you do with that?
BLANCHARD: We don`t eat the heads but that`s where most of the stuff
SCHULTZ: So you just take them up and...
SCHULTZ: ... you`re going to consume that?
BLANCHARD: Yeah. The government says it`s all right to eat.
SCHULTZ: The government says it`s OK.
BLANCHARD: If you can`t believe the government, who can you believe in?
SCHULTZ: It`s not only shrimp. The oyster industry has been dramatically
DAVID BARBER, OWNER, BARBER SEAFOOD: For us what happened is our bay is
really died (ph) off in the last three years. We`re hours to bay to dives
for some reason -- was to do with the oil spill some say these tar sands
would be problem, lack of fresh water were some of the problem. And they
were seeing now the oyster beds in Apalachicola go down a lot they have.
SCHULTZ: In all the years you`ve been working.
BARBER: In all the years, I`ve never seeing it. We usually -- we are one
of the biggest buyers of oysters in the county from the bay and we used to
get 200 to 300 bags a day and now we get about 50.
SCHULTZ: And how about the quality of the oysters?
BARBER: The quality is still pretty good. There were just a lot of, you
know, because reproducing very small, you know, we have a problem with the
lot of them being small and down on the west of the bay, oysters used to
grow a little bigger down there and all of those oysters died. You know, I
had a friend of mine owns a hostels down on that side and he is, you know,
he is nothing.
SCHULTZ: Many local seafood workers believed that tar balls are a direct
result of the chemicals used in an effort to clean up the gulf.
B.P. refused to that claim and says dispersants were an important and
highly effective component of the response to the spill.
What about the corexit that they use? Do that make it worst?
BLANCHARD: In my opinion, that`s would -- that`s the whole problem we`ve
got. They do another (inaudible), not in all the natural substance. I
mean, once you put a chemical, I mean, you then destroying the gulf by
putting all the oil in there. Why would you -- you come from miles by
putting another 4 million to 5 million gallons of the chemicals in there.
SCHULTZ: So they put the chemical on the oil spill. It messed up and fill
to the bottom and it`s still there.
BLANCHARD: And I really believe that when you spread those chemicals then
it`s actually stopping the environment from cleaning itself.
And all these, they just suck up the oil. You see you in the old days when
you have an oil spill, what like my grandfather-in-law would do, they will
throw here on and off because they wouldn`t put chemicals all these...
SCHULTZ: (Inaudible) It was absorbed.
BLANCHARD: It would float to the top all lighter in water. Water is
having it all. So if you really want to pick up the oil, Ed, and it`s on
the top of the water, why would you sink it to the bottom when it would be
easier to pick it up if it`s on the top? When they started taking it to
the bottom, we knew they weren`t trying to pick it up.
SCHULTZ: While the gulf is left with chemical residue, many residents are
left with health issues from rushes on the skin to respiratory problems to
fatigue. It`s a health misery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, when checking air quality over here. You can
see that big (inaudible) across the beach, the air quality was right and
back in the lobby (ph). This (inaudible) off the ground but the
(inaudible) is just hot. So the wind would blow over the top of them and
everyday that there we had a good air quality.
SCHULTZ: What kind of health problems have you experienced, your friends,
HAHN: I started, you know, having you have problems with breathing and a
weird rash that breaks up from time to time. And, you know, and I just --
I went to the doctor and the doctor -- I will say what he said when he was
and, basically, he didn`t know what it was and came out with some kind of
letters forward to us and that means I don`t know what the hell...
SCHULTZ: A lots of folks who have that?
HAHN: Well, and I thought I just contributed to old age, because I was
getting all with trouble of breathing and then talking to the people that
work out there. They`re all complaining about the same thing. And when we
went to the doctor and get treated for it, it doesn`t help. They treated
it as like it`s asthma but ventilation (ph) with the other medications that
they give you for asthma weren`t working on it. That you still felt the
same and didn`t even relieve it a little bit. But there`s a lot of people
that are far off that far worse than me and its still haven`t seeing a dime
from B.P. from medical claims.
SCHULTZ: That had nothing to do with the agriculture industry or anything?
HAHN: No. No.
SCHULTZ: They`re just folks that live here?
HAHN: Folks that live here. Folks that worked out there during the oil
spill, folks that -- if they came in contact with the oil and then a lot
worse shape and I know that many of them that are worse shape than I am and
it`s a shame because they`re still suffering and I still have rocking up
SCHULTZ: And then not could get a dime.
HAHN: They haven`t seen it. They will be dead before they see a dime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We have invited representatives from B.P. to join us on this show
so far. They have decided not to appear. That invitation remains open all
B.P. has directed us to their website thestateofthegulf.com. The oil
company has also pointed out numerous government and B.P funded studies
showing health and environmental concerns have no direct correlation to the
From my experience, visiting with the folks down in the gulf, I think it
would be hard for us to find gulf residents who would agree with that.
Later in our series, we will hear from environmental experts on the gulf.
Ahead in this hour, we`ll visit with a gulf area doctor about what he has
seen patients since April of 2010. Our series, "The Gulf Today 5 Years
After The Spill" continues all week here on the Ed Show.
Stay with us. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: Tomorrow in part three of our series, "The Gulf Today 5 Years
After The Spill" we`ll explore the ripple effects from the disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIP WASSON, BUSINESS OWNER: To say it plummeted (ph) would be an
understanding. Truly after the oil spill there was hope that it was going
to get clean up, it was going to of get rectify and there was going to be
an impact to the beaches here. And as time kept, you know, taking away
each day and you`re watching the updates on the different news, medialets
And the fear was that it was going to start washing up here on the shore
and what was going to happen to tourism when it did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Tomorrow on the Ed Show, we`re hearing directly from coastal
And up next, we`re talking and taking a closer look at the health of the
workers and residents after the spill. Dr. Mike Robichaux tells us what he
is seeing in patients along the coast.
Stay with us, we`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, it takes years after any oil spiller
chemical disaster to learn the impacts on the environment in human health.
It could be decades before the real picture truly emerges. One new study
shows an unusual mortality event among marine mammals primarily bottlenose
dolphins in the Northern Gulf of Mexico between 2010 and June 2013. The
study links these deaths to B.P.`s historic 2010 oil spill.
The study is part of a natural resource damage assessment in the Deepwater
oil spill legal case against the responsible parties.
We did reach out the NOAA team who led the study. They were unable to
offer any other comment beyond what has been published.
Marine life is just one small portion. Some people living and working in
the gulf region are concerned about their own health. B.P.`s public health
fact sheet says, "Studies by federal and state scientist and independent
researchers have concluded that exposures of oil, oil constituents and
dispersants for response workers and the public were, well, below levels
that might be expected to raise health and safety concerns."
Physicians in the region may argue otherwise.
I am joined tonight by Dr. Mike Robichaux. He is a physician from South
Louisiana who has treated over 100 patients who were exposed of the
products of the spill.
Dr., good to have you with us tonight.
DR. MIKE ROBICHAUX, SOUTHERN LOUISIANA PHYSICIAN: Nice being with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet. What are you hearing from your patients? What the
symptoms are consistent? What are you seeing?
ROBICHAUX: Ed, let me give you a short background on this.
Right after the spill, I begin seeing people from Florida, Alabama, Mystic
and Louisiana. All of them had some really weird symptoms. I`ve been in
practice for over 40 years and I`ve never seen or heard anything like this.
I`m and ear, nose and throat doctor but most of these people didn`t have
insurance and didn`t have any resources and they were really sick as hell.
I began trying to treat them and was able to do very little good at that
Since that time, I`m probably seeing 200 or so people with these problems.
And we did have a grant at one point in which we were able to put people
through a detox program and got some reasonable results. But the fact to
the matter is that we have some extremely, extremely sick people from the
spill and many of them are still ill. They`re not being recognized and
they`re no being compensated at all by B.P.
SCHULTZ: And when I was in the area, I heard several people who live in
the gulf talking about the health concerns since 2010. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAHN: I started getting problems with breathing and a weird rash that
breaks out from time to time. And, you know, I just -- I went to the
doctor and the doctor -- I will say what he said but it was basically he
didn`t know what it was.
Folks that live here, folks that worked out there during the oil spill,
folks that -- if they came in contact with the oil and then a lot worse
shape and I know that many of them that are worse shape than I am and it`s
a shame because they`re still suffering and I still have rocking up
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Dr., what`s your reaction to that?
ROBICHAUX: Well, all of these problems existed at one point. Actually,
his skin problem and his lung problems were some of the least common of the
serious problems that I saw.
The patients that came in initially had extremes of headaches, memory loss,
hearing ability, insomnia, vertigo, impotence. The list went on and on.
And at one point, the federal judge in this case pointed 19 attorneys to a
committee who once called the Plaintiff Steering Committee to negotiate
with B.P. and decide what illnesses were going to be compensated and these
horrible things that I`ve been seeing.
And they wind up not listing any of the serious illnesses that I`ve been
seeing in their areas that would be compensated through a class action
SCHULTZ: So they ignored you?
ROBICHAUX: They just completely ignore it. And I`m not a rocket scientist
and I`m certainly not a toxicologist but I have some sicker (inaudible)
patients that have been completely ignored and was sick to this day.
We are paying B.P. freight for the health care of this people. I`ve got
three of them that I know very well and very close to all (inaudible)
social security right now, young people who incapacitated and will be
incapacitated for the rest of their lives.
SCHULTZ: Well, that`s what they want to focus on. There are people today
that you see that are impacted by what unfolded five years ago.
ROBICHAUX: Without a doubt, right.
SCHULTZ: And are they involved in any kind of compensation or any kind of
effort to get their medical bills replenished?
ROBICHAUX: I don`t know...
ROBICHAUX: ... I don`t know all the legal statuses and so forth but they
have not received a penny to the best of my knowledge that...
SCHULTZ: And you know these people. They were healthy before the spill
and they`re sick after the spill.
ROBICHAUX: Absolutely. One young lady, is a brilliant young woman who went
to Louisiana school for the gifted, Notchitoches. Got a genius I.Q shortly
after the spill and she was exposed to a tremendous amount of these
ROBICHAUX: ... she would get lost in her hometown.
ROBICHAUX: She couldn`t find her way home. She have to call people to
drive her home because her memory was so bad.
And that was one of the salient problems that we saw with this people who
was enormous fatigue and memory loss.
SCHULTZ: All right. Dr. Mike Robichaux, we`re going to have you back to
talk more about this. It`s a very important subject.
"Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts now.
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Show: THE ED SHOW