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Kevin Costner Pushes Oil Filtering Machine in Washington

The first thing Kevin Costner did when he testified before lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 9th was assure them there was a reason he had shown up at all. "I know there must be a question as to why I'm here," Costner said. "I'd like to assure everyone in the room that it's not because I heard a voice in a cornfield."

Costner then told lawmakers that the oil filtering machine he helped finance should play an important role in cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico. "I believe this machine, made over 12 years ago with all the care and science and money that I could throw at it, is one major solve in this giant puzzle," Costner said.

The concept is simple. Once the machine is in the ocean, polluted water goes in, the oil is separated from the water, and clean water goes out. The largest models can filter up to 200 gallons per minute.

Despite the fact that Costner put $20 million of his own money into this machine, he insists making money off the product is not the point.

"Am I up here hocking my product? I guess, I don't know," said Costner. "Don't take mine take somebody else's. I've been to all these oil response conventions around the country and around the world and...I've never seen one machine that deals with getting the oil out."

Twelve years ago Costner was told by the government and oil companies that his machine was "too expensive," that there was "no need to invest in the technology," he said. Not anymore: BP just ordered 32 of them, enough to clean six million gallons of water per day.

Watch Thursday's Washington Unplugged above, also featruing CBS News' David Martin and Chris Isham discussing the impact of new U.N. sanctions against Iran. There is also a look at the new documentary "For Neda" as the one year anniversary of the deadly election protests in Iran approaches.

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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