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Update on Gulf Conditions; Legendary Yankees' Owner George Steinbrenner Dies After Suffering Heart Attack; Breaking Down the Financial Aid to Haiti?; Will New BP Containment Cap Stop the Leak?; Vote to Confirm Elena Kagan to Supreme Court Delayed by Republicans; Gulf Coast Seafood Restaurants Take a Pounding

Aired July 13, 2010 - 10:59   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, we are covering a lot of stories for you. From the Gulf, incident commander Thad Allen will give us an update on the cap of the BP well.

From the White House, President Obama will talk about the economy.

And the world of baseball is mourning. Legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dies this morning from a heart attack.

I'm Tony Harris. Those stories and your comments right here, right now in the CNN NEWSROOM.

So the cap is on. Will it work?

Day 85 of the Gulf oil disaster, and BP is testing the new cap placed on the busted well. This could be a major step in stopping the gusher of oil.

We are waiting -- standing by for an update from the incident commander, Admiral Thad Allen. We will bring that to you live.

Right now, let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd at BP headquarters in Houston.

So, Brian, first of all, good to see you. The cap is on. What's next?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony, it's a very, very anxious day here. A lot of finger-crossing going on right now.

What's next is they have to do the testing of the integrity of the well. Today that begins, probably in the next couple of hours it will begin. What they're doing right now is some --

HARRIS: Brian, pardon me for just a second. Admiral Thad Allen is speaking right now.


ADM. THAD ALLEN (RET.), NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: This morning, several significant activities are taking place. We just finished a seismic run through the field, about a 2.5 kilometer run, basically, from north to south with a boat called the Gecko (ph) Topaz, carrying very sophisticated acoustical sensors. That is intended to give us a baseline from which we can detect any anomalies after we do the well integrity test regarding anything that might happen with the sea floor or the formation moving ahead.

The sequence of events that will take place and will start some time afternoon today, we are still, I might add just as background, to have that vessel come through with the very sensitive acoustic sensors that they have on board. It requires you to clear just about everybody out of the area, not only so they have a very clear way to hear and do their sensing, but also there are navigation issues. And that's the reason it was done in daylight.

We were going to try and do it yesterday, but we ran out of daylight. So it was done at first light this morning.

Once everything is re-deployed and back in the area, especially ROV support, these things will happen in the following sequence. When we get ready to start the well integrity test, we will first cease production through the Q4000 and the Helix Producer 1. We will then divert all of the hydrocarbons up into the new capping stack.

Valves through the kill and the choke lines for the new capping stack will be opened. And the center bore is already opened. So we will be venting basically through three different exits on the capping stack, the kill line, the choke line, and the main line going through the bore.

Then in sequence, we will attempt to close the stack down and assess the pressure readings as we do that. The first thing we will do is the close the main ram. There are three rams. The middle one will be closed. That will basically shut off the flow outward through the top of the capping stack.

At that point we will take pressure readings. We will then close the kill line, which is the second remaining outlet, and take pressure readings.

The third and most critical will be the choke line. There's a special device that has been built on the capping stack. You will see it. If you look at the video, it is yellow, it is long horizontally, and there is a curved-up type (ph) for the exit of the hydrocarbons.

That choke line will be controlled by a remotely-operating vehicle which will slowly close it incrementally. And this is going to be very, very important, because we want to measure the amount of closure which will be measured radially by turns of that choke line valve by an ROV, simultaneously taking pressure readings.

The goal is to slowly close that down and understand the changes in pressure as we are closing it until that choke line is closed. At that point, there will be no hydrocarbons exiting from the capping stack, and we'll go into a period where we're going to start taking pressure readings. It will go in basically six, 24 and 48-hour increments depending on the results. And as we've said before, while it may be counterintuitive to some, in this exercise high pressure is good.

We have a considerable amount of pressure down on the reservoir forcing the hydrocarbons up to the wellbore. We are looking for somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 PSI inside the capping stack, which would indicate to us that the hydrocarbons are being forced up and the wellbores are being able to withstand that pressure. And that is good news.

If we are down around in the 4,000 to 5,000, 6,000 range that could potentially tell us that the hydrocarbons are being diverted someplace else, and we would have to try and assess the implications of that. And as you might imagine, there are gradations as you go up from 4,000 or 5,000 PSI up to 8,000 or 9,000. The implications of all of that will have a great deal to do with the pressure readings, what the empirical readings tell us, and in discussions with BP and the scientific team that is here representing the federal government and some of the labs around the country.

We will at some point try to get to 8,000 or 9,000 and sustain that for some period of time, and these will be done basically, as I said -- if we have a very low pressure reading, we will try and need (ph) at least six hours of those readings to try to ensure that that is the reading. If it's a little higher, we want to go for 24 hours. And if it's up at 8,000 or 9,000, we would like to go 48 hours just to make sure it can sustain those pressures for that amount of time.

So, based on the pressure readings that we find, this could be six, 24 or 48 hours. And at that point we will have a better idea not only of the pressure, it will tell us something about condition of the wellbore itself. And ultimately, it will also tell us something about the flow rate, which to date has been based on estimates, based on the digital imagery, acoustic testing, and so forth.

So, a consequential day. Somewhere afternoon we will start -- the technical team is being assembled.

After this press conference, I will be meeting with Secretary Chu from the Department of Energy; Marcia McNutt from U.S. Geological Survey; Tom Hunter from Sandia Labs; and our other representatives of the technical community. And we will be discussing how we will resolve issues that are going to come up as we get pressure readings and try and understand what is going on.

The range of options that could come out of the testing of the stacking cap include knowledge that the cap itself can withstand 8,000 to 9,000 PSI pressure interminably, indefinitely, which means there might be an opportunity to have what we would call a shut-in of the well, basically to just hold it at that point. Anything less than that might bring into play a decision to continue to produce. And at that point, we will be able to produce off of four lines -- the choke and the kill line from the original blowout preventer, plus the choke and the kill lines from the new stacking cap. That is intended by around the 18th of July to take us to a capacity of 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day, which we think will exceed the flow. So, either through a potential shut-in of the well or being able to produce most or, if not all, of the flow we believe is generated, either way we will have a way to contain the oil if we are successful in the pressure readings. And again, if we are successful.

This is very, very important because it will allow us to manage the hydrocarbons. But the ultimate success of this entire endeavor will be the relief well. And development driller 3 is now at 17,840 feet measured depth. They've been there for a day or two.

They are doing testing to make sure they have the right angle of attack as they close in for the last 60 or 70 feet before they will actually try and make the penetration for the relief well. And the current estimate of how far away they are from the Macondo well at this point is four feet, four inches. So you can imagine this gets pretty precise as they're trying to go down another 60 or so feet, where they actually hit the point where they can drill into the (INAUDIBLE), and potentially to a seven-inch casing pipe.

So that continues as well.

One other thing, if we are to go to a full production of four different outlets around the 17th, 18th, 19th of July, somewhere around there, it will require us to continue to build and construct the second free-standing riser pipe. That is in progress right now and should be ready for production around the 19th of July.

Just a couple of other issues.

Skimmers have always been an issue for us. We know as we've expanded our defense of the coastline from Florida to south-central Louisiana, we are on pace at this point, by the end of the month of July, to have approximately 1,000 skimmers in the inventory. But we are just below 600 right now, and we are continuing to ramp up from a variety of sources, including international sources supply.

Resources have been freed up as a result of the emergency rule-making we did to lower the response standby requirements elsewhere in the country. And we continue to aggressively acquire skimmers.

Some critical resources that we're starting to come grips with as we move forward, it may not be intuitive to you, but interesting to note, I think. We are using about two million Tyvek suits a day. Those are the light suits we use to clean up the beaches.

We may run into a national supply problem with those sooner or later. Those suits are also used for a variety of other emergency response purposes. And we're going to be looking at the source supply and how we deal with that.

As we increase our aerial surveillance, we are also looking at putting more qualified observers out there. So, in addition to just the pilots that are flying out there, we have trained folks from NOAA and other places that can help us actually characterize the oil that we see and any issues regarding wildlife and so forth.

So, this continues to be a very complex, nuanced and broad-based response with a lot of things going on. In addition to everything else, as you know, we brought the Helix Producer on line last night, and we will take it back down for the well integrity test. But that ultimately will have the capability to do around 20,000 barrels a day.

It was up on line and operating before midnight last night. We were actually able to produce a thousand barrels. In addition to the Q4000, which was able to flare off in both gas and oil about 7,291 barrels, we actually produced while we were switching out the cap 8,300 barrels yesterday.

So, a complicated operation, a lot of densely-compacted ships and ROVs out there. So far, safely done. We will continue to watch with great anticipation.

We realize there are significant chances that we can improve our ability to contain these hydrocarbons moving forward, and everybody will be watching very closely over the next 24 hours.

With that, I'd be glad to take your questions.

QUESTION: Maybe you can take us through some of the backup planning. If the well were to rupture while you have the shut-in, what happens then? I mean, is there some sort of emergency response plan that's in place, or vessels on hand? What happens at that point?

ALLEN: Well, if we have very low pressure readings -- as I said, we're going to do this in increments. If we have sustainable pressure readings for about six hours, we're going to know that we can't sustain that in the long run.

And while there may be some hydrocarbons working into the formation, there's an acceptable range while we establish whether or not that's the true pressure. But the scientific team has gotten together, and low-pressure readings of about six hours is probably going to be the threshold before which we would have to make a decision to move forward.

QUESTION: Admiral, Harry Webber (ph) from The Associated Press.

Can you bottom-line it for us, if possible? What odds do you give to the success of being able to shut in the well using this cap?

And if you are successful, when do you think fishing areas along the Gulf that have been closed will be able to reopen? What do you say to those people's lives that have been affected by this as far as what's next, when can life go on for the people that have been affected?

Can you kind of give us some idea?

ALLEN: Well, I can tell you this -- I think we are very confident we can take control of this hydrocarbon stream and then slowly close all these valves and stop the emission of hydrocarbons. What we can't tell is the current condition of the wellbore below the sea floor and the implication of the pressure readings. That s in fact why we are doing a well integrity test.

We need to know that for the purpose of being able to manufacture or control the hydrocarbons, but we also need to know this because the ability to withstand those high pressures at 8,000 or 9,000 will also facilitate the actual killing of the well when we try to pump mud into it from below. So, this is all very, very important, so I can't attach a percentage to it because we're trying to learn something that we don't know, and that's the condition of the wellbore.

Regarding the fishing areas, this is closely being monitored by NOAA and my colleague Jane Lopchenko (ph) and her folks. We have about I think 34 or 35 percent of the Gulf right now is closed.

They are aggressively reviewing on a day-to-day basis where the spill trajectories is at until they can open new areas. When open them when it is safe and sound to do that.

Safety of the seafood food chain is very, very important. And NOAA is working very, very closely with the FDA to make sure that the fish that are caught from the areas that are open are safe for consumption. And they are. This has been a very focused effort by both FDA and NOAA.

Regarding what comes next, I've said on several occasions, even if we contain the well and even if the well is capped in mid-August, there is still a significant amount of oil out there. And the oil recovery and the impacts of this oil will probably extend well into the fall in terms of oil coming ashore, tar balls, beach cleanup. And then we will be moving, of course, at that point to the natural resources damage assessment, trying to understand the long-term environmental, ecological impact of the event.

QUESTION: There have been some confirmed amounts of tar balls from the BP oil spill washing ashore in Texas. And in Galveston, I'm wondering if you know of any recent test results on the tar that washed up there in Galveston Island.

Also, will the skimmers that you're trying to expand the use of be coming into the waters around the Texas coastline?

ALLEN: My understanding is -- and we've had tar balls in a couple different places on the Bolivar Peninsula there. Some of them have had some of the characteristics of this spill and some of them have not.

The ones that have had the characteristics of this spill exhibits characteristics of oil that would have been far weathered than it was having gone that far. We're looking at the fact of whether or not vessels that were working in this area may have inadvertently transmitted oil out there and had it come ashore.

That said, taking no changes, we have set up an incident command in Galveston. We have a joint information center there. Our folks are in touch with the Texas General Land Office, and our incident commander there has been in touch with Governor Perry's office. And we'll continue with that moving forward.

Right now, there is no presence of oil on the surface over there that would require skimming capability right now. The tar balls are sometimes suspended and come ashore. But we are looking to put skimmers where we need them.

That's the reason we haven't stopped ordering them. We'll keep ordering them until this event is completely done. I would rather be pushing supply and critical resources out than waiting for demands that we can't answer.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you.

If the pressure is low at the top of the well, does that indicate that oil is flowing out through some other point of the well? And if so, what are the theories on where it's escaping?

ALLEN: That's what we're going to try to determine from the pressure. One could make the case that there are some structural integrity issues with the casing and the wellbore itself. I don't think we'll really know that until we take the pressure readings and try and see where that information takes us.

It is unknown what happened to that wellbore at the time of the explosion and the events that immediately followed that. And that is largely the biggest unknown not only in trying to do anything with the well from the top, the top kill which we tried, which was not successful, or, ultimately, the bottom kill moving forward. And we're just not going to know until we get the pressure readings.

There are some indications when we finally go in and drill into the pipe to do the bottom kill, the ultimate capping of the well, that we will get an indication of whether or not there is oil in the anulus, which is that open area between the casing pipe and the wellbore itself, or the oil is inside. Based on that information, we will be able to make a determination on whether these -- what they call burst plates, which are plates periodically up and down the pipe casing that are still intact or may have burst, and that will give us another idea of how much pressure was exerted and what the structural integrity of the well might be. But it's going to be a combination of what the pressure tells us in doing the well integrity test, and then what we encounter when we actually drill into the well from below.

QUESTION: Yes. Hi, Admiral. Kristin Hayes (ph) with Reuters.

I just want to be clear about two things. You said that six-hour threshold. Is that -- when you reach that six hours, if pressure is still low, is that when you decide to ramp up the Helix and the Q4000 and begin collecting again?

And second of all, on some dates, you said that the floating riser for the (INAUDIBLE) is under construction and will be ready July 19th. But I thought -- ALLEN: We think we will be ready to go to production on the 19th.

QUESTION: OK. So you think that 80,000-barrel-a-day four-vessel system will be ready before the end of July?




QUESTION: But the other question about the six-hour threshold?

ALLEN: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

That is a rule of thumb. I think we're going to have to take look at what the pressure readings are.

I think there is just a general window, we think, that if you have sustainable pressure for about six hours, at what point do you reach a decision threshold where you think you need to open up and vent? I think we would open up and vent the hydrocarbons, and that would allow us to bring the Helix Producer and the Q4000 back on line. That won't be instantaneous, so if there is a decision that needs to be made to relieve pressure at that time, it would be made by venting the hydrocarbons.

QUESTION: Hi, Admiral. This is Susan Dager (ph) with Dow Jones.

When does the six-hour time frame start ticking down?

ALLEN: Let me be very clear to everybody. That's a rule of thumb we established to kind of assess the pressures.


ALLEN: Nobody is going to be sitting there with a stopwatch.

QUESTION: I understand. So, today, though, the six-hour window could start, right, if you start the integrity test today?

ALLEN: Well, we will start taking the pressure readings when we finally close that choke valve, and that will be done very slowly, because we want to see if there are any pressure changes as we start to restrict the flow.


ALLEN: That will make sure that we don't do anything prematurely if we're getting variations on the pressure reading. But it will also tell us something about the flow, empirical data which we haven't had to date yet. OK?

So, I would tell you all once again, let's not get wrapped up in the six hours. That's kind of a horizon we would look at for the pressure readings. QUESTION: But could you close down that vent today?

ALLEN: No. The capping stack -- all three ways for the hydrocarbons to exit will be closed, but the last one will be the choke line because it's got a variable valve that we can close in increments. It is not just an open or shut issue. The other ones are either; they're either open or shut. And that will allow us to slowly close and look at the pressure while we're doing it.


ALLEN: This afternoon.


QUESTION: Admiral, I know you mentioned the 48-hour time frame. I know you talk about six hours, now the 48 hours. What will happen after those 48 hours?

ALLEN: Well, again, these are approximate times that our technical teams said if we have consistent pressure readings over that period of time, then it's logical to talk about next steps. If we are able to sustain a pressure of 8,000 or 9,000 over 48 hours, we start to move into a reasonable range that we have contained the flow at that point, and then you can start having a discussion about whether or not it might be possible to shut in the well or not.

And I don't want to presuppose any of those decisions because we don't know the conditions we're going to encounter there. But those are the kind of general thresholds that we are looking at when you have enough pressure readings where you could start having a serious discussion about next steps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Operator, at this time we would like to move to the phone conference call to take questions.

OPERATOR: As a reminder, if you would like to ask a question, please press star, then the number 1, on your telephone key pad.

We'll pause for just a moment to compile the Q&A roster.

Your first question comes from the line of Alison Bennett (ph) of (INAUDIBLE).

QUESTION: Hi, Admiral. Thank you for taking my call.


ALLEN: OK. Here's the sequence once again.

There are basically three ways that hydrocarbons can come up through a blowout preventer, either the one that's there or the capping stack that we put on which is, in effect, a smaller version of a blowout preventer -- the kill and the choke lines, and then the main bore up through the preventer itself. We now have a capping stack on top of that. So there are five ways that you can potentially release oil: the kill and choke line from the original blowout preventer, the kill and choke lines from the capping stack, and then the top of the capping stack itself.

What we will do in sequence is we will stop production on the Q4000 and the Helix Producer 1, and remove the way for the hydrocarbons to exit through the kill and the choke lines of the original blowout preventer. That will move to three exit points -- the choke and the kill lines of the capping stack, and then the top opening of the capping stack.

Then we will, in sequence, first -- there are three rams that are part of the capping stack. The middle ram will be closed. That will seal the upper opening from any hydrocarbon release. That will leave us the kill and the choke lines.

The kill line will then be closed as well. And remember, this is either open or shut.

That will leave the choke line of the capping stack as the last way for hydrocarbons to exit from the capping stack. And that is set up with a specially-designed engineered and built -- you'll be able to see it on the video. It's a horizontal yellow piece of equipment that has a pipe that curves up where the hydrocarbons would exit. And at the other end there's a place to insert a tool with a remotely- operated vehicle, and then slowly close the valve, which we will do that while we're taking pressure readings.

Next question.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from Jim Fulson (ph) of (INAUDIBLE).

QUESTION: Admiral, everything is going ahead with the effort to have all four ships available (INAUDIBLE), right?

ALLEN: That's correct. Our intention is -- and again, we have been very clear since the middle part of June with BP. Regardless of the stacking cap, the ability to shut the well in, or the relief well efforts, we want backup and redundancies for all systems because we've seven several occasions starting out where we were going to do something and it failed, and we got into a linear sequence. And what we wanted was more insurance than that.

So we said early on that you have to give us redundancy and production capabilities, so in case there is a mechanical problem -- and we have seen with the Discoverer Enterprise, there was a lightning strike that caused a fire on the derrick, and they've had alarms that have gone off and maintenance that's had to be done. We want redundancy in the production capability, but we also want redundancy in the capacity so that while we're doing this, we can still deal with the entire flow.

For that reason, it was anticipated whether or not the capping stack works, and we shut the well in, that we would ultimately go to four sources of production under the new system, the kill and choke lines from the original blowout preventer and the kill and choke lines from the new capping stack. Two of those would go to vertical riser pipes that are anchored on the sea floor, the other two would go to drill strings that are put below production vessels and connected by a small coupling that can be disconnected very quickly in time of a hurricane.

The combination of those four platforms will give us 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day production redundancy, and capacity redundancy of a margin where if one of those four went down, the other three could still maintain what we believe the flow from the pipes is.

Next question.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from (INAUDIBLE).

QUESTION: Good morning, Admiral.

You had mentioned skimming vessels. Does that total include Vessels of Opportunity? And can you give a basic assessment of what you think the current (INAUDIBLE)?

ALLEN: It does include Vessels of Opportunity to the extent that they are pulling a piece of skimming equipment that is large enough that we would track as a skimmer, if you will. There are other ways to skim oil using Vessels of Opportunity. You can actually do it by towing absorbent boom.

You can tow it. You can tow nets with liners. There's a variety of means where they're removing oil, but we are trying to track skimmers as a major piece of machinery, if you will, and we're tracking it by whether or not they operate in shore, near shore, or off shore, near the well sites.

So, when I talk about skimmers --

HARRIS: OK. I think we have a pretty good fix now on what is going to be happening over the next six, 24 and 48 hours.

The man leading the federal government's response to the Gulf oil disaster still in the middle of an updated briefing from Houston. Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen describing what you would have to say is a pretty deliberate procedure that will be undertaken starting this afternoon to close five openings allowing oil to pour out of the wellbore.

So, several lines have to be sealed off here. We're talking about the stacking cap line, the kill line, the choke line, the bore line. I think there was one other.

All of these lines have to be closed off at each step along the way. Well integrity will be tested. In fact, the wellbore integrity test comes first.

Then the line/valve shutdown process begins. That is supposed to start again this afternoon, is my understanding.

Now, as this process unfolds, keep this in mind -- when you hear that the pressure is high, that's good. Low pressure indicates a leak somewhere in the wellbore or the wellbore casing or in the underground piping.

We will learn some things about how the operation is going six hours into it, then at 24 hours. And 48 hours after this sealing starts, we will have a good idea of the success of shutting down, closing, choking off this well. So, the well integrity test comes first, and once officials know the shape of the wellbore, the shutting down of the various lines will begin.

I think that covers it.

All right. We will, of course -- this is the story of the day. This is a pivotal day here. So we will continue to follow developments on this.

When we come back, a look back at a New York Yankees' legendary owner George Steinbrenner.

We're back in a moment. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is being remembered as a legend in the world of sports. Steinbrenner died today after a massive heart attack. He had just turned 80 on July 4th. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, and was the longest tenured owner in Major League baseball. The team won seven world titles under his ownership. Steinbrenner was rushed to a Tampa hospital where he died this morning. George Steinbrenner was a self-described tough boss who ruled with an iron fist.

CNN's Mark McKay has more on his reign over the sports empire known as the New York Yankees.


MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a city filled with executives from the biggest companies in the world, there was only one boss in New York. His name: George Steinbrenner. Born on July 4th, 1930, Steinbrenner but together a group that bought the Yankees in 1973 for $8.7 million, and turned it into a billion dollar empire. He ruled with an iron fist and had just one goal in mind -- winning.

GEORGE STEINBRENNER, OWNER, NEW YORK YANKEES: I don't like to lose. I don't like to lose for New York. I don't like to lose for Yankee fans. I just don't like to lose. I'm not a good loser. Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.

BILL MADDEN, N.Y. DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER: The term sportsman went out the window when George took over the Yankees because he became -- he was more than a sportsman. He took over the Yankees because he wanted to win and win every year.

MCKAY: No one was immune from the wrath of the boss, office personnel, team broadcasters, players, and managers were all equal opportunity targets.

STEINBRENNER: I'm not an easy guy to work for because I'm a tough boss. But I don't expect anything more from my players and people than I'm willing to pay myself.

MCKAY: Steinbrenner was infamous for hiring and firing managers at the first sign of failure. He once fired Billy Martin on four separate occasions.

MADDEN: You were like a doctor on call with George, especially in the years when Billy Martin was the manager. They were always at war. Billy was also in trouble with George. If Billy were the manager, you couldn't leave the hotel bar until Billy left the hotel bar.

MCKAY: Steinbrenner didn't endear himself to other owners either. He was at the heart of baseball's salary explosion, paying unheard of millions to free agents. That win-at-all-cost attitude sometimes got Steinbrenner into trouble.

The year after buying the Yankees, he was suspended from baseball for two years after making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon. In 1990, he was forced to resign as general partner after paying a confessed gambler $40,000 for damaging information on former Yankee Dave Winfield. He was later reinstated.

At times, the method to his perceived madness was highly successful. Four years after taking over the team, the Yankees returned to the World Series in 1976, and won the first of back-to-back championships a year later. After missing the playoffs through most of the '80s and early '90s, the team returned to its glory days by winning four titles in five years. Winning, that was the driving force for George Steinbrenner.


HARRIS: And with us on the phone to talk about George Steinbrenner and the Yankees' legacy is Tom Verducci of "Sports Illustrated".

And Tom, good to talk to you.

I got to tell you, first all, and right off the bat here, I grew up in Baltimore hating and being envious of the Yankees all at the same time. The history, the pinstripes, they looked great. The winning tradition.

Steinbrenner's ability to pay more for players than anybody else on balance, the Steinbrenner years, good or bad for baseball? Not the Yankees, but for baseball?

TOM VERDUCCI, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" (via telephone): Oh, it had to be good for baseball because if you went back to 1973, when George Steinbrenner bought the team, you didn't care about the Yankees. They were not a threat. They certainly didn't have the international brand recognition that they have right now, which is one of the best in the world obviously. And it's because of George Steinbrenner.

He actually was so successful at what he did, baseball had to change its economic system. The Yankees were making so much money that they said, hey, we need revenue sharing. We need to find a way for George to share his money with us. That's why we have revenue sharing today. He was that successful.

HARRIS: Yes. Tom, did it ever bother him -- and I think the answer to this is probably no -- that the common perception was he bought his championships, the winning at all costs, at any price?

VERDUCCI: No, that never bothered him. The question always came up with him but his point was that we take the money that we make and we plow it right back into this team.

You know, he was really proud of the fact that when he went to New York, cab drivers, and truck drivers, and Yankee fans recognized him and thanked him for spending money. And I think he got a huge kick out of that, more than the criticism he got from other cities.

HARRIS: Yes. Do you have a favorite Steinbrenner story?

VERDUCCI: There were so many. But, you know, I was covering the team in the 1980s, and I'll always remember the rooftops at old Ft. Lauderdale Stadium where George had a box. And you'd have to stop by after a game in the Yankees had a bad game because he was really ripping into his players. At any moment, you were on call all the time covering George Steinbrenner. It wasn't always fun but it was always interesting.

HARRIS: Yes, Tom, we're going to put up a couple of "Sports Illustrated" covers of George Steinbrenner.

How do you think he will be remembered?

VERDUCCI: Well I think he'll be remembered as a guy who cared so much about winning that it cut both ways.

Obviously, it helped get him suspended from baseball on two separate occasions. He did run through managers in an almost comic fashion. But at the same time, he has all of the rings to show for it, the championships, and I think it's the fact that he really did spend a lot of money. And it depends on what your perspective is. If you are a fan of the Yankees, you love George Steinbrenner because you knew every year he was going to spend the money to give your team a chance to win.

HARRIS: Tom Verducci of "Sports Illustrated" talking to us about the life and legacy of George Steinbrenner.

Tom, appreciate it. Thank you.

VERDUCCI: Thank you.

HARRIS: Billions pledged to Haiti. Most of it hasn't made it there. Josh is following that story for us - Josh. JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Tony.

Which countries have pulled through so far? I'm going to have that for you. Plus, how you can help. It's all coming up right after this.


HARRIS: You know, I got to tell you, it was supposed to be a two-week mission, but the actor and activist Sean Penn has been a mere constant presence in Haiti since the earthquake six months ago. He says the biggest problem with recovery is the lack of coordination between the Haitian government and relief agencies.

He talked with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": You've been here pretty much nonstop for the last six months. When people say, look, they don't see progress on the ground what do you say to them?

SEAN PENN, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: Well, you know, first of all, you had a disaster that was beyond anybody's experience, including all of the aid workers that I have come to know over the time here. So the initial chaos, I have come to have a greater understanding.

Since that time, what has become clearer and clearer is the chess play that goes on between powers that be. Whether it be the international aid agency, the government, and other governments. What happens is that we forget, for example, when they're concerned about the politics of an election coming up and this and that. One of the things --

COOPER: There's going to be an election in November?

PENN: Right. And one of the things that we can focus most on is we've got to trust the Haitian people to elect that person and make that choice. So whatever policies or whatever grants are given and those things should not be limited to prior to that election, prior to a new administration. They should be administratable (ph) with some kind of a future.

But another thing that we're facing now is what I've watched in the arc is that there's become a kind of virtual ghost town of the international doctors' influx. That doesn't have anything to do with politics. It's got to do with the will and the understanding that the community in the United States and other countries has to have, that the need has not gotten any less.


HARRIS: Yes. But what about the money? Billions of dollars have been pledged for Haiti. How much has made it there?

Josh Levs is following that for us.

Morning, Josh.

LEVS: Good morning to you, Tony.

In terms of actual arrival on ground, we're talking about just a little trickle and that is how it's beginning here. This is something that's concerning to the former president and concerning to some other people.

Let me start off with the numbers here. We all know -- or you may know - we've reported on this -- that dozens of countries got together not long ago, actually, and talked about their pledges for Haiti. And what you have in total, when you look at what the world is offering, you have $5.3 billion. This is at a conference that was convened by the United Nations. It's a ton of money that was pledged by the international community, even more than some officials had been hoping for.

That said in terms of arrival on the ground, you have two percent of the pledged funds that have been delivered so far to Haiti. Half of the countries that have pulled through on their total commitment so far is Brazil, Norway, and Australia. So what you have are some officials that are concerned, will the money that's been pledged ultimately make it there?

Let me talk to you about a couple more figures here. The United States -- this is an announcement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not long ago -- $1.5 billion from the United States that's been pledged there. We also know there've been a lot of private donations collected - first pledged and then collected.

There's a group called the Chronicle of Philanthropy that follows that. They're saying $1.3 billion have been raised by U.S. relief organizations. So, those of you out there who have given money, who have contributed to Haiti, part of this inside the United States, this $1.3 billion figure.

Let's take a look at some video that we have from where things stand in Haiti right now and just what the streets look like and what parts of the area are looking like.

And as we do this, Tony, I'll tell you a couple things that we have learned. I was looking at the latest from the United Nations. They're saying that approximately four people have received food assistance Emergency shelter materials have gotten to 1.5 million people. Safe water has been made available to 1.2 million people. You also have a lot of schools that have been out, but they have been getting some help.

So, some money is getting there. But, Tony, as we can see, big picture, there's still a lot that's not making it there.

HARRIS: Well, Josh, can you explain to us why more of the money that has been pledged hasn't arrived?

LEVS: Yes, we can. And I want to emphasize - we can tell what's most concerning to officials here is that they want to make sure the money gets there at all.

Often you have the pledges early on and then you can even look back in history with Afghanistan, with other places, countries make promises. So the real worry is not that the money isn't there right now because the fact is, it takes a country a while to process the money, to figure out where it's going to go, even to absorb that money. And so that's not the problem.

The problem is, will it get there within a reasonable amount of time? Some countries are saying they want to see long-term plan for Haiti. They want to know what will happen, what will be done with the money, where will it go? And until then, they're holding off. Others just waiting. What we're hearing from the former president, from some others is that they want to know that the money is going to get there and they want to see more of that money get there right now -- Tony.

HARRIS: All right, Josh. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Get ready to meet Fredo. He is -- hi, Josh -- he is a real charmer. Fredo.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He makes us smile every day. He makes us laugh. He says the cutest things.


HARRIS: We will catch up with the children taken out of Haiti after the earthquake in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM.

Day 85 of the oil disaster. We will soon know if the new containment cap installed yesterday can stop the leak. This morning scientists began testing the cap's ability to hold the pressure of the well.

Other top stories we're following for you. Today's vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court has been postponed at the request of Republicans. The Senate Judiciary Committee is now expected to vote on whether to confirm her next week.

Legendary Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner died after suffering a massive heart attack. Steinbrenner, who was 80, led the Yankees to 11 American League pennants and 7 World Series championships.



HARRIS: Seafood restaurants near the Gulf taking a real pounding right now from the economy and the oil, of course. We will update you on their efforts to avoid extinction. We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: This is crazy. A rather noisy protest against BP. You may recognize the sound from the World Cup, right? It's the vuvuzela.

So a group gathered outside BP in London today sounding off with the buzzing horns. The demonstrators say BP has not done enough to respond to the Gulf oil disaster.

The presidential commission investigating the Gulf oil disaster hears complaints about a new drilling moratorium. The panel is holding a second day of public meetings in New Orleans. Part of its mandate is to make recommendations about the future of offshore drilling. The new moratorium imposed by the Interior Department is already under fire.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether you call it a moratorium, a suspension, a pause, the result will still be a substantial loss of job. Even the revised moratorium will force thousands of hard-working Louisianans and others in the Gulf Coast into the unemployment line. So I strongly urge this commission to take a quick and decisive action to immediately live the moratoria, save the businesses and our economy.


HARRIS: First the economy, and now the oil. Seafood restaurants near the Gulf have really been hit by a double whammy here. Their hope now that a hurricane doesn't strike.

Here's CNN's David Mattingly.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The BP oil slick say long way from Slidell, Louisiana, but restaurant owner Ray Alfred (ph) can see it every night in his dining room.

(on camera): Where is everybody? This is supposed to be one of your busy nights, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Thursdays, and Fridays, and Saturdays are usually pretty good nights for us.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): He's trapped by a BP double-whammy brought on by lost jobs and lost fishing. Fewer customers have money to spend on seafood dinners that get more expensive by the week. It's a vicious ripple effect that's forced Alford to lay off half his staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to have four shifts. Right now, we have one shift and one dishwasher.

MATTINGLY: And there have been change to the menu, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the ones that have shrimp and oysters on, we increased the price $2 to $3.

MATTINGLY (on camera): That's about half your menu?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct. That's because everybody loves the Louisiana seafood. Barbecue shrimp. Who chose the barbecue shrimp? Ahh, you chose the barbecue shrimp.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): At this point, every move is risky. Each price increases pushes Alford out of the reach of more potential customers. And he's not alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally, this back would be stacked. The containers would be three and four high.

MATTINGLY: Supply at this seafood distributor in New Orleans is down by half. They're trying to fill gaps with frozen imports.

(on camera): How much of this is imported right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say import fishing right now is probably 40 percent.

MATTINGLY: A big part of Ray Alfred's problem is that when he comes here to his distributor, he's competing with 700 other restaurants and retailers for the same diminishing supply of fish. So this is pushing the prices up 10, 20 percent in some cases for those legendary Louisiana shrimp and Louisiana oysters - the things that his customers want most.

You're out of oysters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out of oysters.

MATTINGLY: Inventory is Alfred's restaurant is running thin. He can't afford to have any fresh seafood that might go bad.

Do you see an end to this ripple effect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With hurricane season blooming in on us right now, I'm just praying we don't have a major storm.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Long accustomed to bouncing back after hurricanes, Alfred says the oil disaster has stolen his resilience and left him vulnerable.

David Mattingly, CNN.