Transcript: Costner Inspired by Exxon Valdez to Create Oil-Cleaning Machine

And we have to have technology that's … handling this as an ongoing thing. I'm sitting here talking like some guy, you know, like … I'm a business guy. I'm not really, you know. I'm more of a dreamer, right? I'm more of a "what if?" guy. But when I get to talking about this, it's kind of easy to do because people all around America are talking at their kitchen tables. And they feel the exact same thing.

So how do we prevent this from happening again? Well, one thing we know for sure: we're not going to prevent the spills. They happen every day. And a minor … spill is just as tragic as a large spill. In fact, I read somewhere where the amount of spills that take place about every seven months is equal to an Exxon Valdez. That's being spilled into our ocean, all around the world. All -- if you add them all up, about every seven months it equals an Exxon Valdez.

So we know accidents are going to happen. But if we're going to operate on our high seas, we have to have-- we have to have this equipment there and … it should be able to operate the minute the oil comes into contact with water. And the only reason those machines shouldn't be working would be if those on those boats, those on those oil barracks, are fighting for their life or limb at that moment. And short of that, they should be the people that are cleaning it up.

CHAMPION: I sit here and look at the beautiful place very near where you grew up.

COSTNER: You gave yourself the best view.


COSTNER: I'm looking at a bunch of rocks.

CHAMPION: (LAUGH) Sorry about that. But it is a gorgeous view. And is this--

COSTNER: Well, you can see the oil barracks out there. Do you see them?

CHAMPION: Yeah. I can now because the haze has burned off a little bit. Is knowing that that's there, and growing up in a place this beautiful, is that what makes you so passionate about it? Because you know, look. Some guy who has made as much money as you, who's as successful as you, is sitting in his house someplace else and not getting involved in this, and not spending his own money, and not passionate about it. What made you care this much?

COSTNER: I told you I'm a little bit of a dreamer and not-- not a terribly good business man. I mean, there's almost nobody that would spend that kind of money without an end gain. And I never really come at things that way. I'm not … I'd like to make some money in my life with this machine, if it-- happened.

But that's what … that isn't what motivated it. I… use oil. I … love to fly to see my kids in college. I understand that oil is a very big part of American life. The fact that we are so dependent on it is … not right.

You know, and … I'll leave it to others to discuss that. We know that that's not right. It puts us in, it puts our national security at risk that we can't kind of … supply ourself. We need somebody else to supply us. We … we should probably take a … very sobering look at that and not maybe do it on a committee. Maybe just somebody go, "This is wrong."

But I did it because I … know we need to be dealing with oil. But …I couldn't understand why we're not dealing with it responsibly. And what happened is as a young man, as a boy, I would see these things, these images, and I could tell my parents would stop and look at the TV. And when you're young, you look at them and you go, "Something stopped them." And what stopped them was these images.

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