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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  September 11, 2016 7:00pm-8:02pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> stahl: today marks 15 years since the horrendous events of september 11, 2001. now at ground zero in new york city, there's a memorial museum that tells the story of that day and honors its nearly 3,000 victims. but deciding how to do that wasn't easy. was absolutely every single tiny little thing an argument? >> paula grant berry: there were lots of issues. >> iken: oh, boy. lots, lots. >> stahl: tonight we'll take you back to the challenges of creating our nation's 911 museum. >> mike anderson: not a day goes by where i don't think about my son. he was mike jr. he was my only son. >> pelley: he is what is known
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as a gold star parent, because his son, mike anderson, jr., a marine, was killed in iraq. now, the father sees it as his duty to help other gold star parents at this remarkable event. the burden that you have is unbearable. >> anderson: at times, yes, sir. >> pelley: but when you come to this event, you take on the unbearable burdens of another 100 families. >> anderson: my son went abroad to help people he never met. it is human nature to want to help others. >> bill whitaker: it may surprise you to hear that oklahoma is the most earthquake- prone state in the continental u.s. >> whoa! >> whitaker: in 2009, there were, on average, two earthquakes per year of magnitude three or greater. last year, there were 907. what's more astonishing is that nearly all of oklahoma's earthquakes are manmade. >> melinda olbert: what quake
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app do you use? >> kathy matthews: i use the one-- >> whitaker: these oklahomans say they check their phone apps to track earthquakes around the state. this must be unnerving. >> matthews: it's no way to live. it's no way to live. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60 minutes." there are two billion people who don't have access to basic banking, but that is changing. at temenos, with the microsoft cloud, we can enable a banker to travel to the most remote locations with nothing but a phone and a tablet. everywhere where there's a phone, you have a bank. now a person is able to start a business, and employ somebody for the first time. the microsoft cloud helped us to bring banking to ten million people in just two years. it's transforming our world.
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(man) honey, what's a word for "large blaze"? (wife] fire. [man] thirteen letters. [wife] fire. [man] thirteen letters. [wife] really big fire! [burke] conflagration.seen it. covered it. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ what it can't do. your calculus homework. what it can do. make you peanut butter happy. it's a whole new kind of joy you get when you bite into a jif bar made with real jif peanut butter. >> stahl: it's difficult for many of us to believe that it's been 15 years since september 11, 2001-- that awful day on
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which so many innocent lives were taken, and our nation was changed forever. today at ground zero in lower manhattan, one of the largest and most ambitious memorial museums in the world tells the story of that day and honors its victims. located seven stories underground, the national september 11 memorial museum has been visited by more than six million people in the two years it's been open. but deciding how to tell the story of 9/11 presented enormous challenges: how to convey the horror without making it unbearable. how to memorialize a day most of us wish we could forget. we started reporting on those challenges when the museum was still under construction in 2012, and we witnessed the people in charge having to make some very difficult decisions. ground zero above ground has become a place of rebuilding and
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remembrance. at its center is a serene memorial plaza with two giant cascading pools-- twin voids set into the footprints where the towers of the world trade center once stood. each pool is surrounded by names-- 2,983 of them-- plus some who didn't even have a name. it's quiet and powerful as people come, to touch, and feel. and in some cases, mourn fathers, sisters, children. but you won't find anything here about what actually happened on 9/11: nothing about the buildings, the planes, nothing about the terrorists. all that was meant to be the job of the museum, and its director, alice greenwald. >> alice greenwald: we occupy literally the space below the memorial plaza. >> stahl: so, we're walking... >> greenwald: you're walking on the roof of the museum. >> stahl: we met greenwald when the museum was still being built
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underneath that plaza, and she took us to see what was down below. >> greenwald: just watch your step, lesley. it is a construction site. >> stahl: but at this construction site, the issues went far beyond where to put the walls. virtually every decision here was fraught with meaning, as you descend past two 50-ton beams recovered from the wreckage-- into a space... >> greenwald: welcome to foundation hall. >> stahl: ...that takes your breath away. ( gasps ) it's haunting and a little chilling knowing you're in the belly of ground zero, in the place where so many innocent people lost their lives. so, here we are. we're right where the buildings collapsed. we're in it. >> greenwald: most museums are buildings that house artifacts; we're a museum in an artifact. >> stahl: where we are is almost sacred. >> greenwald: i think you are become super conscious of where you're standing, and that's a powerful thing. it's a very powerful thing. >> anthoula katsimatides: it's
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the authentic site of loss. >> monica iken: it is... it is sacred and hallowed space. >> stahl: we spoke with four family members who are also members of the museum's board. paula grant berry's husband david worked in tower 2, as did monica iken's husband, michael. anthoula katsimatides' brother john was in tower 1, and tom rogeér's daughter jean was a flight attendant on american airlines flight 11. >> paula grant berry: the site radiates something for us all in a very special way. >> iken: that's where the final resting place of our loved ones is. >> stahl: it has to be there? >> iken: it has to be there. >> has to be there. >> anthoula katsimatides: yes. >> monica iken: and you can feel it. >> greenwald: this is the remnant of the exterior structure that made up the twin towers. >> stahl: one of greenwald's first challenges in this hallowed space was deciding where the story of 9/11 should begin. >> greenwald: we begin with the voices of people from around the world, remembering where they were when they heard about the attack. >> someone barged in and said, "oh, my god, a plane has just crashed into the world trade center." >> stahl: the idea is to
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acknowledge that most visitors will bring their own memories of 9/11, which was witnessed within hours by people all across the globe. >> phone rang, woke me up. my business partner told me to turn on the television. >> stahl: greenwald says we are all survivors of 9/11, so it's fitting that visitors would descend to the main exhibits of the museum beside an enormous staircase, here encased in wood, that served as an escape route. >> greenwald: on 9/11, hundreds of people ran to safety down this stair. >> stahl: the so-called "survivor staircase" was one of several artifacts so big, the museum had to be built around them-- like this fire engine lowered in through a hatch in the roof to honor first responders, 441 of whom lost their lives; and the famous last column, the final, massive remnant of the towers to be removed from the site. but we found that some of the most powerful things on display here...
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okay, so that's flight 11. >> greenwald: takes off from boston. >> stahl: ...are not physical artifacts at all. oh, look, the second plane. a large projection on the wall shows the morning of 9/11 as it played out in the air... >> greenwald: flight 11 is hijacked. meanwhile, flight 77 leaves. >> stahl: ...with the simultaneous flight paths of the four planes. >> greenwald: and now, flight 93 takes off. impact has already happened in new york. >> stahl: oh, look at this. >> greenwald: and then, flight 93 is hijacked, turns around. >> stahl: among the agonizing decisions for the museum-- should they include the voicemail messages left by passengers aboard those planes, and other victims of 9/11, for their loved ones? one advisor told greenwald to think of these recordings as a form of human remains. >> ceecee lyles: baby, you have to listen to me carefully. i'm on a plane that's been hijacked. >> stahl: they decided to include a few recordings, seek permission from family members, and use them only with a
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purpose-- this one, from flight attendant ceecee lyles to her husband-- as a testament to the professionalism of the hijacked crews. >> lyles: there are three guys; they've hijacked the plane. i'm trying to be calm. >> greenwald: she is so composed. >> stahl: she's in flight attendant mode. >> greenwald: she's in flight attendant mode. and at the very end of the call, she says something like, "i hope i see you again, baby." >> lyles: i hope to be able to see your face again, baby. i love you. bye. >> stahl: oh, my goodness. and, of course, audio was just the beginning of the sensitive questions about what should be exhibited. let me ask you, what about some of the horrific shots, for example, of people jumping? >> greenwald: this is probably, as far as i'm concerned, the most sensitive question for this museum. >> joe daniels: we went through a lot of debate internally about, "do we show that side of the story?" >> stahl: on the morning of september 11, joe daniels came out of the subway to the
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gruesome sight of bodies falling from the north tower. today, he is president of the 9/11 memorial and museum. >> daniels: you never want to have to see that; someone 100 stories up, 1,000 feet in the air, having to make that kind of choice. on the same time, there's a very strong feeling that this was a part of the story; that a group of people from this group, al qaeda, put innocent people in a position to have to do that. >> stahl: when you think about what terrorism means, this really says it. >> greenwald: absolutely. it's an impossible thing for a human being to do to another human being, and yet it became possible on 9/11. so, for us not to acknowledge that would be to not be true to the story. >> stahl: but how? with video of people falling, or photographs? and what about the feelings of family members? greenwald told us that she understood that some would never want to see an exhibit on this subject, but many argued strongly that it had to be
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there. >> greenwald: i have to say that we were also... i... i don't want to say accosted-- that's a little strong-- but, you know, shaken by the lapels by family members who said, "you have to tell the story. don't whitewash the story. tell it like it was. the world needs to know." >> daniels: so, we ultimately decided that we will include an exhibit, but do it in a way, in an alcove, where people will be clearly warned. and if they don't want to see it or have their family see it, they can easily avoid it. >> stahl: one exhibit they want everyone to see is what greenwald calls the heart of this museum, a space devoted to honoring the victims' lives with photographs of each of them lining the walls. those giant walls out there go all the way up. every bit of space will be covered... >> greenwald: right. >> stahl: ...with faces? >> greenwald: yes. the impression will be that you are surrounded by nearly 3,000 faces. >> stahl: these are the photographs that now cover those walls. look at those faces.
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look at all those faces. >> greenwald: they're ages two and a half to 85, from over 90 countries, every sector of the economy, every possible ethnic group. >> stahl: visitors can search these interactive tables and call up profiles of each person, with photos and recorded remembrances by family members and friends, like this one by the father of paul acquaviva, who died in tower 1. >> mr. acquaviva: he never had a bad word, literally, to say about anybody. he always looked at the positive. you know, i know, to be honest with you, he didn't get it from me because i'm very critical at times. to me, that was one of the most important things about paul. >> greenwald: some of them are funny. some of them are sweet. and we're not telling you who they are; their loved ones are telling you who they are. >> stahl: visitors can also search by birthplace or by company. >> greenwald: if i call up cantor... >> stahl: cantor fitzgerald was the company that lost more employees than any other.
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>> greenwald: 658 people... >> stahl: look at that. >> greenwald: ...who died on 9/11 at cantor fitzgerald. >> stahl: from that one company. one of the 658 was john katsimitides, anthoula's brother. >> katsimatides: so, there's four of us growing up-- george, john, myself and michael. >> stahl: we were there the day she brought photos to contribute to john's profile to the museum's chief curator. >> jan ramirez: well, that is just so cute. >> katsimatides: i know. >> stahl: what's it like to go through the photographs and choose? >> katsimatides: i had an extremely difficult time doing that because, you know, you see him as a child growing up, you know, and then as a best man in all of his best friends' weddings. so, it's like, well, which one do you pick? because you just are so sad that the pictures stop here. >> stahl: family members all share the devastation of their loss, but the museum discovered that they are hardly a monolithic bloc. >> greenwald: it's the families of nearly 3,000 people.
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it's, you know, probably 10,000, 12,000 people, all of whom have their own perspectives, their own desires, their own ideas about what kind of museum should be here. >> stahl: was absolutely every single tiny little thing an argument? >> paula grant berry: there were lots of issues. >> iken: oh, boy. ( whistles ) lots, lots. >> stahl: like whether to exhibit pictures of the perpetrators. and what about osama bin laden? do they belong in the 9/11 museum? well, what was the argument for not showing osama bin laden? >> daniels: that on this... this actual ground where the atrocity took place, this graveyard, to some extent, how could you demean the memory of my loved one by showing the image of the person that murdered him? >> stahl: but other family members took the opposite view, demanding accountability. >> katsimatides: it was absolutely important to point fingers. >> iken: you have to tell the story. >> katsimatides: you know, we had to express who did this to our loved ones. >> daniels: we don't want any
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child or adult or student to walk through this museum and not leave knowing who did this to us, which is why we're going to go ahead and show those images. >> stahl: but the museum also wants people to know the stories of heroism and selflessness, the spirit of unity after the attacks, so there are tributes here to recovery workers and volunteers. this museum was built with the knowledge that when it opened, virtually no one under the age of 17 would have a firsthand memory of september 11, 2001. for almost a quarter of the population, 9/11 would not be a searing memory; it would be, well, something to learn about in a museum. >> katsimatides: we are worried about the children who don't remember 9/11. and this is the way to tell exactly what happened to future generations so no one ever forgets. >> stahl: even the painful, maybe most particularly the painful? >> berry: right.
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>> katsimatides: we're not talking about a simple little happening, you know. we're talking about a brutal attack on our country, you know, where 3,000 people were innocent, and they were murdered that day. >> good evening tomorrow policy makers interest rate hike. a hinge in cargo ship stranded off california finally unloaded at the south korean company avoids bankruptcy. muhammad ali rumble in the jungle belt sold for $358,000. cbs news. my belly pain and constipation?
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>> scott pelley: in the wars since the terrorist attacks on september 11, 2001, thousands of americans have lost sons or daughters. bereaved parents often become isolated in a familiar world. friends don't know what to say about a grief no words can touch. there is no term in the dictionary for a parent who has lost a child. so, these mothers and fathers call themselves gold star parents. it's in the tradition of the military service flags that hung in homes during the world wars. each blue star on the banner stood for a loved one serving in the military. gold honored those never coming home. this past april, we first told you about how some of these families are finding solace, once a year in san francisco, in the embrace of the only people who can truly understand-- other gold star parents travelling the same endless road. in downtown san francisco stands
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an unusual war memorial, looking as it did in the 1920s when it was a hotel and theater. after world war ii, marines wanted a living memorial so they transformed this into a club that, today, honors all vets. >> mary shea: i look at this building. it's like a ship that sails every february. that once we're inside here, we're safe. we can be ourselves. we don't have to explain to anybody. it's sort of a subliminal language that we all understand. >> pelley: mary shea learned the language of loss when her son was killed. it's a language that cannot be translated, and so she and her husband, bill, felt they could no longer be understood. >> bill shea: you're kind of cast adrift and you're sort of floating nowhere.
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and you don't know where to go or what to do. and there they were. understanding better than we understood, the support that we needed. >> pelley: the gathering the shea's attend every year is organized by women who call themselves the "blue star" moms of the east bay area-- "blue stars," with sons and daughters who served in the military. about 200 of california's gold stars attend this honor and remembrance event, which begins with a reception. the next morning, each of the fallen receives a prayer. >> a grateful nation acknowledges your sacrifice and prays for your peace. >> pelley: later, gold star parents and counselors lead conversations for smaller groups, like single parents and siblings. it's all invitation only, no press. the only pictures we have are from the marines' memorial association.
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part of the hotel has become a memorial wall, where every lost loved one since 9/11 is remembered. 6,850 stories. tim shea was 22. he'd fought two tours in afghanistan and was in iraq on his third tour there, when his vehicle hit a bomb in august of 2005. >> bill shea: a night, thursday night about 9:30 p.m., there was a knock at the door. and we were sort of getting ready to go to bed. and i was in the bedroom and then i heard mary's voice. "bill, come here, right now. come here, come here. come here." and i went out there and, and soon as we saw them, we knew what was-- what we were facing. >> pelley: saw who? >> bill shea: saw the soldiers. the, the, there's a chaplain. there was, and, and, and two others. was it two other soldiers who were there to tell us?
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>> pelley: tim grew up in northern california. dad a lawyer, mom a teacher. how often do you come? >> bill shea: well, i come most every day and just have a little chat with tim. >> pelley: eleven years ago, at tim's funeral, mary noticed women she had never seen before. >> mary shea: where did these people come from, and why are they here? why do they care? >> pelley: the strangers were blue star moms, including nancy totman. how many of these funerals have you been to? >> nancy totman: 42 funerals. and each one is difficult. >> deb saunders: i can think of a couple of parents right off hand... >> pelley: deb saunders understood their isolation. >> saunders: you can express your sympathy, but you cannot empathize with someone unless you're walking in their shoes. and that's what i knew we had to do, was somehow gather these folks together, that they were better equipped in their journey
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to help one another. >> pelley: to gather the gold stars, deb saunders reached out to a tough old leatherneck, retired marine major general mike myatt, the president and c.e.o. of the marines' memorial association. >> mike myatt: deb saunders, she was a blue star mom. she came to me one day and she said, "i'm worried about the gold star moms. we need to provide some kind of comfort for them." >> saunders: i knew general myatt had the resources to help us do it but i also knew he had the heart. and that's exactly what this took. >> pelley: heart led myatt to order the wall, where you find senior airman jonathan vega yelner. he had volunteered after his single mom discovered that he was ditching class in college. >> yolanda vega: and i said "jonathan, i'm going to give you two options, because you fooled mommy. you have a choice. navy or air force? pick one."
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>> pelley: yolanda vega thought those were the safer options. >> vega: he came over and he hugged me and walked away. and as he's walking straight toward the recruiter, he just went like this. >> pelley: he never looked back. the air force gave him maturity and purpose. he served in iraq, then afghanistan. and there, safe on base, he volunteered for an army patrol. there was a bomb. he was 24. >> vega: i was told that he was killed instantly. thank you, god. and... yeah. my baby. >> pelley: yolanda barricaded herself behind close friends and family. blue star moms sought her out and she was amazed. >> vega: being a blue star mother, coming over to a gold
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star mother and hugging-- we're their worst nightmare. and yet, they are so willing to be part of our lives and ensuring our well-being. i couldn't have done it without them. >> pelley: your eyes light up when you talk about them, and i'm trying to understand what it was that you found so uplifting, redeeming about that experience. >> vega: i knew that my son would always be remembered. and that's one of the biggest fears gold star families have, that our children will be forgotten. that's not going to happen. >> pelley: "the children," as parents will always call them, are celebrated at tribute tables. their child lives again in every new introduction. >> bill shea: because when tim was a senior--
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>> pelley: we asked a few families to assemble, for us, their tabletop biographies. this is a picture of when she was little? >> claire good: yeah. >> pelley: meet alecia good. daughter of claire and paul. a senior airman armed with what had to be the biggest smile in the air force. >> pelley: as you are with more than 100 other tables at the event, people come by. what does it do for you? >> paul good: it gives us a sense of that she didn't lose her life for nothing. >> pelley: in 2006, alecia good was on counterterrorism duty near the horn of africa when her helicopter collided with another. she was 23. her daughter tabatha was two. >> claire good: tabatha just recently went through her mom's wardrobe and the first thing she did was put on her uniform and she looked just like her mom. it was cute. >> paul good: she realizes that her mom's special and that she won't be forgotten. >> mike anderson: not a day goes
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by that i don't think about my son. he was mike jr., he was my only son. he was my firstborn. >> pelley: mike anderson, senior, has been coming to the event all 11 years. >> pelley: when you see that new family come through the door at the next meeting, what do you tell them? >> anderson: tell them that we love them, we welcome them, again, "we're walking the same dark valley. i know how you feel. it does get a little better over time." people talk about closure. there's never real closure, at least not in my mind. but there are steps forward to ease the pain, to help with that closure. >> pelley: what are those? the steps to ease the pain? >> anderson: faith, for me. going abroad-- 2006, going to iraq myself to see some of the same faces, be in the region, breathe some of the same air that my son unselfishly fought and died for. >> pelley: you went to iraq. >> anderson: yes, sir.
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>> pelley: as a civilian? >> anderson: it was a need for me, it was more than just a want. >> pelley: mike anderson, jr. joined the marines the minute he got out of high school. in 2004, 11 days before christmas, he was shot retaking the city of fallujah. the burden that you have is unbearable. >> anderson: at times, yes sir. >> pelley: but when you come to this event, you take on the unbearable burdens of another 100 families. >> anderson: my son went abroad to help people that he'd never met, that he would probably never ever see again. it's just that, in some ways, its human nature to want to help others. >> myatt: and people asked me, "what do you say to the gold star parents?" i say, "well, you don't have to say anything to them, just ask them, 'tell me about your son or your daughter'." man, they will just talk. they will just tell you all they can about the son or daughter. and it's really something. i wished i had known this as a
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young officer. because i went to vietnam and i had people killed out of my platoon. and i was gonna go visit each family, and the very last one was in kansas. i was visiting them and i went to the house, and-- and the father said, "come on in." and the mother, she had on her apron. she said, "i just fixed dinner, would you have dinner with us?" i said, "no, i'm in a hurry, but i want to tell you about your son." and i told them how he was killed and everything. they really appreciated. then, "won't you stay for dinner?" "oh, i better not." i realize now they wanted to tell me about their son. and i wasn't mature enough to know it. >> pelley: that's why they wanted you to stay. >> myatt: yeah, yeah, and now i know it. >> pelley: for general myatt,
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there is redemption now, in making a home for the memories. >> bill shea: i remember one time visiting my son's graveside and thinking about how every day they would face the day and realize that this is dangerous and they did it anyway. i have a duty to do and this duty is dangerous and i'm going to do it. >> pelley: tim's death transferred that duty to you. >> mary shea: right. >> pelley: the duty to live your lives and to help other people in the same situation that you're in. >> bill shea: i think that's right. i think that's right. and that's the best way to honor him. >> pelley: once a year, gold star families are safe in the embrace of their peers, strangers who share an intimate truth; a life is lost, but love does not end.
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>> bill whitaker: oklahomans are accustomed to searching the skies for signs of tornadoes. today, they're just as wary of the hazards coming from the ground beneath their feet. tornado alley is now earthquake alley. as we first reported in may, oklahoma is the most earthquake prone state in the continental u.s. what's more astonishing is that nearly all of oklahoma's earthquakes are manmade.
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they are being triggered by the biggest and most important industry in the state: oil and gas production. but it's not from fracking, which is what most people think. before 2009, there were, on average, two earthquakes a year in oklahoma that were magnitude three or greater. last year, there were 907. that's right, 907. the vast majority of earthquakes are small, causing little or no damage. but what they lack in punch, they make up in sheer volume. this tally from the u.s. geological survey shows the number of earthquakes in oklahoma has increased every year since 2009, with more than 2,000 magnitude three and above. that means more of the bigger ones, like this 4.3 magnitude quake last december in edmond, oklahoma. >> melinda olbert: i woke up
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scared to death, praying that the house wouldn't fall down. i couldn't believe that the windows didn't shatter. >> whitaker: melinda olbert and kathy matthews are neighbors in edmond. >> olbert: what quake app do you use? >> kathy matthews: i use the one-- >> whitaker: they say they check their phone apps to track earthquakes around the state all day long. look at that. >> matthews: cherokee, enid, fairview, medford, stillwater. >> whitaker: all in one day? >> matthews: all in one 24-hour period. >> whitaker: this must be unnerving. >> matthews: it's-- it's no way to live. it's no way to live. >> whitaker: cornell university seismologist katie keranen was teaching in oklahoma when the increase in quakes began. she says the situation is unprecedented. what's going on here in oklahoma has never been seen before? >> katie keranen: just the number of earthquakes is astounding, but how fast it grew it is perhaps even more astounding. >> whitaker: keranen and her student catherine lambert have set up equipment to detect extremely small quakes in an area where there haven't been many, hoping the small quakes might provide warnings of larger
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ones. >> keranen: and so, so far we have only looked at data from four days of recording, and so we see small earthquakes in the area. >> whitaker: even over four days. >> keranen: even over four days, we actually see many dozens of earthquakes. >> whitaker: many dozens? >> keranen: that's right. >> whitaker: keranen was among the first scientists to link the earthquakes to oil and gas production. these are manmade earthquakes. >> keranen: most people feel that the majority of these are linked to this water being disposed. >> whitaker: the water that's causing the earthquakes is not from fracking, which is water and chemicals pumped underground to free up oil and gas. this is naturally occurring water that's been trapped below ground with the petroleum for millions of years. this is the oil being pumped out? >> gary larue: oil, gas and water. >> whitaker: gary larue is president of petrowarrior, a small, independent oil company that operates 14 wells in oklahoma. what happens in this cylinder is what happens on a grand scale at
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wells across the region. the oil, gas and water naturally separate. >> larue: so this will be the saltwater here. this is gas up here. >> whitaker: the bubbles going-- that's the gas. and look at that. the oil. like every other operator in the region, big and small, larue's oil wells produce more water than petroleum. the gas and oil are collected in tanks for sale, but the water is too briny to be recycled or used. it's considered waste. and all of this is saltwater-- >> larue: saltwater. uh-huh. so it has to go back in the ground. we have to get rid of it. >> whitaker: getting rid of the water means sending it down a disposal well that's drilled deep below the freshwater aquifers - to prevent their contamination - and the zone where it came from. this is it? >> larue: this is it. >> whitaker: this is what all the talk's about? >> larue: just a well in the ground. >> whitaker: larue's disposal well is one of more than 3,000 in oklahoma. the state created a website to explain the earthquakes. this map shows disposal wells as
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blue dots. the orange dots are earthquakes. when the price of oil went over $100 a barrel in 2008, oil and gas production increased dramatically. so did the amount of wastewater and earthquakes. what's causing these earthquakes? >> mark zoback: what we have learned in oklahoma is that the earthquakes that are occurring in enormous numbers are the result of waste water injection. >> whitaker: mark zoback is professor of geophysics at stanford university. zoback says there are two factors behind the earthquakes. one is the large volumes of water being disposed, and the other is where it all goes: deep down into a layer of earth called the arbuckle. what makes this such a good place to dispose of all that water? >> zoback: well, it's very thick. it's porous, it's permeable so it can accommodate, you know, very large injection rates. >> whitaker: the only problem
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with the arbuckle is that it sits directly on top of the crystalline basement, a rock layer riddled with earthquake faults. so this water is seeping into the faults? >> zoback: the water pressure is seeping into the faults. and the fault is clamped shut and the water pressure sort of pushes the two sides of the fault apart and allows the slippage to occur today, when it might not occur for thousands of years into the future. >> whitaker: earthquakes are now a daily occurrence in oklahoma, but it was three quakes in november, 2011 near the town of prague that caught everyone's attention. one was magnitude 5.6, the largest in oklahoma's history. it toppled a spire at st. gregory's university and severely damaged 14 houses, including the one where john and jerri loveland live with their two children. >> jerri loveland: our bed was shaking and all you could hear was glass. >> john loveland: you know, earthquake insurance is something that you don't ever
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think you're going to have to have. >> whitaker: like most oklahomans, the lovelands didn't have earthquake insurance and have been doing their own repairs to save money. more than four years after the quake, jerri loveland often resorts to simply hiding the damage. doesn't that concern you? that you've got a crack like this-- >> jerri loveland: i'm afraid that if we went in and fixed these and then there was another earthquake, even a little, it's going to crack it all and then you've done all that work for no reason. >> whitaker: i'm not sure-- >> jerri loveland: --crack. >> whitaker: --covering it is fixing it. >> jerri loveland: it's not fixing it. but that's our only choice. it's not like we have the money to bulldoze the house down and start over. that would be great. but it's not going to happen. we have a mortgage. we live on one income. and i realize that that's our choice, but our choice was great when somebody else didn't screw our house up, so-- and that's proven fact that somebody did it. it's not a natural disaster. >> whitaker: oil and gas is oklahoma's largest industry. in recent years, companies like sandridge, chesapeake, new dominion and devon energy have
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employed nearly one of six workers in oklahoma. all the companies declined to provide someone to speak to us. for years, govenor mary fallin was skeptical the quakes were connected to oil and gas production. but as the number of quakes skyrocketed, she created an advisory council in 2014 to study the situation. last summer, fallin conceded a connection. >> govenor mary fallin: i think we all know now that there is a direct correlation between the increase of earthquakes that we've seen in oklahoma with disposal wells. >> whitaker: nonetheless, last year, the state cut the budget of the agencies investigating the quakes and regulating the oil and gas industry. kim hatfield of the oklahoma independent petroleum association sits on the governor's council. he did agree to an interview and insists the science is inconclusive. >> kim hatfield: you have to understand that injection into
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the arbuckle is not something that started in 2009, 2008, or even 2000. this is something that's been going on for 60, 70 years. and we've had-- had a sudden change. and the question is, what changed? >> whitaker: the amount of wastewater injected into disposal wells last year is triple what it was in 2009, adding up to more than 200 billion gallons of water in seven years. the thing that's different is the amount of water that the oil industry is pumping into the arbuckle formation. that's what's different. and along with that difference comes these earthquakes. that's not the trigger? >> hatfield: the injection of water is a factor. but it is not possibly the only factor. we don't know. >> whitaker: so what more needs to be done?
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>> hatfield: we need to understand this issue. it's not as simple as saying "well, let's just stop injecting water." the energy industry is-- is-- is very important to the state. >> mike teague: if it is your house that's shaking there is no way that we're moving fast enough. >> whitaker: mike teague is oklahoma's secretary of energy and environment. he's got the tough job of protecting oklahoma's anxious citizens without damaging its most important industry. >> teague: i keep track of all earthquakes above a 3.0 in the state and 2012 we had three dozen in the entire year. 2013, we had 109. next year, we had 585. last year, we had 907. >> whitaker: that's an alarming increase. >> teague: absolutely. >> whitaker: so what have you concluded is the cause? >> teague: well, the focus right-- is right now, is disposal wells. >> whitaker: how do you balance out the economic benefit of the gas and oil industry and the public safety?
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>> teague: i don't think it's a balance. i think public safety has to take precedence. >> whitaker: mark zoback from stanford has been working with mike teague and the state earthquake council for more than a year. >> zoback: lowering the total amount of salt water injection into the arbuckle is the only way that these earthquakes are going to start to subside. >> whitaker: do they have time? >> zoback: there's nothing we know that says larger earthquakes are imminent. but everything we know says that the earthquakes are, are going to be continuing. and there is a probability of larger earthquakes in the future, if they do nothing. >> whitaker: this winter, the state called for widespread voluntary reductions in wastewater disposal by as much as 45% in earthquake zones. more than 600 wells are covered by the cutbacks. last year, when neighboring kansas had similar seismic activity, it reduced oil wastewater disposal and saw a 60% drop in quakes from the year before. but considering the huge volume
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of water already pumped underground in oklahoma, it's too early to know whether the cuts here will succeed. nowhere is the need for action more urgent than cushing, oklahoma. cushing is home to the nation's largest crude oil storage and pipeline facilities, which the department of homeland security calls critical infrastructure. the complex was rocked by a series of earthquakes last fall. now the state has asked you to stop putting so much water down. >> larue: they did a voluntary action. we're six miles away from cushing over there. >> whitaker: independent oil man gary larue says cutting back on the disposal of water also means cutting back on the production of oil and gas. with the recent drop in oil prices, the cutbacks, he says, will hurt. >> larue: $30 a barrel, if we have to cut our production in half because of restrictions they put on us, we're done. >> whitaker: you're out of business? >> larue: yeah. we won't be drilling wells, we won't be employing local people to do our service work, we're done.
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it will drive us out. >> whitaker: since may, larue abandoned has eight of his 14 wells to comply with the cutbacks. >> kathy matthews: you know that it's going to hurt the companies. it's going to hurt your friends. it's going to hurt your neighbors. but you cannot compromise, when it comes to public safety. >> olbert: we may be talking about trucking it 30 miles away. i think that could be done. >> kathy matthews: i won't be fear-mongered into thinking that you can't do anything. because in my heart of hearts, i believe you can. and i believe you should. and i believe you haven't. and now you're paying the price. >> olbert: we're paying the price. >> whitaker: oklahoma has further reduced wastewater disposal since our story first aired in may, and the overall number of earthquakes has been declining. but a 5.8 magnitude quake struck last weekend-- the largest in oklahoma's history. the state immediately ordered 37 more disposal wells to shut down.
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>> bill whitaker has covered earthquakes around the world. but oklahoma's are a different story. go to hi! hey! i've made plans for later in case this date doesn't go well. same here. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi double cash card does. earn 1% cash back when you buy, and 1% as you pay. double means double.
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>> pelley: i'm scott pelley. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning" for a special broadcast from the brand new national museum of african american history and culture. i'll join charlie rose, norah o'donnell and gayle king inside the new museum nearly a century in the making.
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