Why James Cameron Can Be the Gulf's White Knight

James Cameron's announcement last week that he was assembling a veritable Justice League of oceanographers, engineers, and other specialists to combat the BP oil disaster was met with some eye-rolling. But he may be the best man for the job.

Cameron spoke with the New York Times recently to clarify the role he wants to play in helping minimize impact of BP's gushing oil rig, and to explain why he's not just a fly-by-night activist:

This wasn't about Hollywood. I wasn't wearing a Hollywood hat when I was there. Look, I spent about one and a half years making Titanic and another four and a half years making Avatar but the rest of my time in recent years has been spent doing deep-ocean projects...

I did six subsequent deep-ocean expeditions, spent nine months at sea and participated in 55 deep submarine dives. I've owned and operated my own submarines and pretty much know everybody in the deep-ocean world outside of the oil business. We are right at the cutting edge on this.

Does owning a submarine automatically qualify you to clean up BP's mess? No. But Cameron's got connections, resources, and passion in quantities that no one can match.

We won't know what his team came up with for a while—the document is with the agencies now and will be made public once they've reviewed it—but we do know that he's serious. And however you felt about Avatar, when the creator of a lush utopian world wants to help recreate it here on earth, I'll listen. [NY Times]