Skip to main content

tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  March 19, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT

10:00 pm
levels. >> also tonight, good, good i think we were getting a hold of
10:01 pm
you. >> when america tonight approached mining company resolution copper about a project, they refused to sit for an interview. >> how did this get through congress? >> you are welcome to join the community meeting for the answers. >> now after we aired our first report the company has had a change of heart. >> we have a great story to tell and we have nothing to hide. >> thanks for joining us i'm joie chen. we count on the government protect us our environment, homes, futures. a story we told you about last month raises doubt about whether the protections are always in place. as a land swap left an area sacred to a native community and environmentalist in the hands of a mining company. at first the company resolution copper refused to speak to adam may. tonight he finally gets to hear their side of the story. >> adam may, how are you.
10:02 pm
good, good. i think we were trying to get a hold of you. >> reporter: when "america tonight" approached resolution copper about a controversial project they refused to sit for an interview. >> how did this get through congress? >> you're welcome to sit in the community meeting and listen to the answers. >> reporter: after the first report the company has a change of heart. >> we have a great story to tell, and nothing to hide. >> andrew is the head of resolution kopper. >> the project will generate 3,700 jobs, $60 billion economic benefit for the state of ars, and have a 40 year life. >> reporter: the project is a massive copper mine. this part of arizona's tonto forest, known as okay flat sits on a copper government. it's a place of great beauty
10:03 pm
and has been under federal for example from mining since 195. resolution copper has been trying to break the protection order for a decade. after a dozen failed attempts in congress to acquire the land through special legislation, an unexpected manoeuvre did the trick in december. buried in the 1600 page defense spending bill a special provision that gives resolution copper the land. >> what assurances can you give the american public that this mine will not create irreversible violently damage. >> we are committed to developing the sofest environmentally -- safest environmentally friendly mine. we are working with the regulators to ensure we follow regulations. >> resolution copper started work on the mines. we were granted access to see an
10:04 pm
exploratory shaft. stretching 1.5 miles under the earth. the company employs 350 workers. jan alison a mine your with six children is glad to have the job. >> mines is huge and affords us a good living and stay home. to raise your children in the fashion we were raised. >> you have lived here all your life. how have you seen the town change? >> when i was growing up here i had everything. >> you did. >> we did. we had convenience. now it has it going. does it work. >> this tiny town of superior.
10:05 pm
buildings and dwindling populations, and millions of dollars of debt. >> we are a community of miners. we want to mine. we would love to have a mine in the community. >> surprisingly town attorney steve cooper says the town does not support the deal. >> until you understand what is going on and the impact on the community, you can't make an agreement until the facts are on the table. >> according to cooper the destruction of okay flat will wipe out the town's main tourist attraction, and with a mountain of mine waste at its doorstep. >> how big are we talking. >> i have been to a meeting where in - in another community where the resolution came. from what they described, the or body was the size of picket post mountain, this mountain over here, and the ore body might have 3.5% copper in it if that. >> 96% waste.
10:06 pm
>> 96% waste. >> 96% of that mount yin is the tailings deposited outside of the town. >> it will not be as high as picket post mountain. probably around about 350 feet after it was fully constructed, after 40 years of mining. >> tapp line showed us where he'd like the mound of tailings to be deposited. on national forest service land. >> some say your company wants to land where the copper is but not the land where the waste will go. >> i don't want to speculate on who ends up owning that land once we have gone through the regulatory process. we are in the regulatory process, and will continue to work with federal regulators. >> at the end of the day, i think the american people are getting short changed badly they are going to lose an exquisite landscape that belongs to them.
10:07 pm
the company will manage to make you know billions of dollars profit off of resources that belong to the entire american public. public. >> reporter: scott worked in the national forest for 40 years. what bothers him and many others is that resolution copper may be able to mine the land with little regard to the environmental impact. under the terms of the land swap bill an environmental study is required but the company is also quarantined to get the land. no matter what the study shows. it's bypassed normal analysis that we would have done. >> newly retired and able to speak freely woods says the forest service has a clear set of rules to prevent mining on
10:08 pm
federal lands. >> changing the mining method would alter the final landscape of the project. we could mine the ore body without leaving a giant hole. >> the company announced that it plans to use a cheaper method of mining called block-cave mining resulting in a crater 2 miles wide and 1,000 feet deep. destroying the surface of okay flat. >> the technique we use is block cave mining. it is a very reliable technique. used worldwide. used for many decades. for the particular ore body that we have the location it is it's an appropriate technique to use. >> if there are better ways to develop the mine better technologies and approaches, we are open to having the technical discussions and open to the technical debate.
10:09 pm
>> tapp line says the resolution invested tens of millions cleaning up an old mining site. considered a horrible eyesore. a testament to the commitment to the town. and in exchange for the copper rich okay flat resolution will give taxpayers 5,000 acres - land the government wants to protect. but many environment groups ask why taxpayers have to give up a beautiful piece of federal land. okay flat in order to save land like this. >> there's another nation that has something at stake here too. for the apache indians, okay flat is a holy land the land of one of the gods. >> tribal members launched a protest, marching 44 miles from the reservation to okay flat.
10:10 pm
>> we are not going to vacate this area because we are going to stand here as indian people. in a time that we faced congress and told them our demands, to keep what is sacred and what is whole. tribal council member fought against the land exchange for years. this time he says he was caught offguard by the defense spending bill tactic. were the apaches consulted on this before it was put into the defense bill? >> no we were not consulted at all. >> reporter: do you understand the concerns for some of them. some say this is a holy site and they don't want to deal with relics. significant its there, wiped off the map. >> what is key is dialogue. the mining development is going to have impacts on okay flat. but what is important about okay flat is dialogue. what is important is to sit down
10:11 pm
and stakeholders, and sit with neighbouring tribes and talk about how to develop the mine in a respectful manner and share the benefits of the mine. >> reporter: historical records show that vast amounts of lanted under apache control were carved out of the reservation to enable industrial mining. private companies extracted a fortune in minerals with minimal benefit to the tribe. >> reporter: do you think the apache people will see the benefit? >> we have all the mines, all the things they took from us. 70% unemployment. i already told you where it's going. it's not going to benefit anyone. what is left is contamination. >> reporter: imagine a couple of years from now they break ground at okay flat and you are standing there watching it. what will go through your mind?
10:12 pm
>> i probably will cry. i mean i definitely will cry. the history of our people the dreams those ways that god blessed us. and to turn to the children and know that there's no more it's gone. >> still resolution says there is a lot of local support here for the jobs of the mine will bring. the question is at what price "america tonight"s adam may is here. what happens now? does the company automatically get the land can they work on it right away? >> they are fairly close to doing that. what has to happen next is the approval of a detailed environmental impact study. the way the legislation was written is resolution copper will get the land. doesn't matter what they say.
10:13 pm
let's say they come back and are against the block cave and recommend a more expensive method with less damage resolution copper may decide not to go forward with the land. >> after all that. >> they can have the land but may not go forward with the mine. >> you said this was a land swap which begs the question what do we get in the change? >> we get the 5,000 acres - it is beautiful land we went out, hiked around with an environmentalist. it's 7 b rampgnch, an hour away from the area we were in. it's groves of trees, home to a rare bird that is in decline, the yellow-billed cuckoo. 100 years ago or so, they were trying to drill for oil. they are always looking for resources. they didn't find that but something else as a valuable in the desert. >> what could that be. >> water.
10:14 pm
>> there's wetlands, a place for animals to gather come out of the mountains. the big environmental group - they have been contracted by resolution to manage this land during the process. the nature conservancy wants the land protected. they are excited that this could be in the hands of the federal government. but they do not support the land deal. they are not against the land as well. they say they have no position on it. >> they want to protect any lacked. lacked. -- any land. >> at the expense of okay flats. >> next, a dangerous redo. >> a west virginia community poisoned by its neighbour, why another crisis could loom ahead. later - cutting carbon. the president steps up with a new plan for the government to do more with less. are we missing other opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint? and hot on "america tonight"s website now, drug
10:15 pm
deals, bank fraud, a virtual ebay of illicit activity - on the dark side of the net. as soon as a new silk road evolved, it disappeared. find out why at"america tonight". ♪ ♪
10:16 pm
10:17 pm
in our fast-forward segment - troubled water. a leak created flood of controversy. when a tank spilt toxins into the river water, 300,000 living
10:18 pm
in and near charleston were told not to use their water, not for weeks. lori jane gliha met a young mother who feared she couldn't protect her family. >> i spend most of my time worrying planning and ensuring that we were creating a safe warm, wonderful home for this baby, and not knowing - it's the not knowing, it's absolutely excruciating. >> sara is not drinking water from the tap, not washing her hands at the sink and not sure about bringing her first child into her charles son west virginia home. >> you can say it's safe but can you prove it to me? >> and it seems nobody can. everything has changed. we are going to have to move after the baby is born. because i can't - i wouldn't be able to live with myself if
10:19 pm
anything, any adverse effects - what happened to him. >> straight up ahead there. >> for sara and kirk uncertainty is not an option when it comes to the birth of a new baby boy. >> you spent three months working on the room and you'll be moving out. >> yes, he may not sleep in the baby room. >> days away from his birth, they are looking for a new place to love a new place to watch their son grow without fear. >> this is where we wanted to be. this came along and pretty much bulldozed our dream fast-forward to the good word that little oliver born days after the interview is as healthy as a horse. the family moved to ohio. the state moved on. lawmakers passing a bill to roll back the tanks that will be inspected for leaks. and two owners that own the tank this week pleaded guilty to
10:20 pm
environmental violations. >> next, from poison water to pollution in our air - is there a better way to clean our skies. >> and friday on "america tonight", a whiff of trouble. >> 750,000 people are going to gaol in this country for marijuana. some for a day, some for 10 years. it's not right. >> an effort to legalize marijuana in the national city is smoked out by politicians on capital here. christopher putzel with the straight dope on legalizing
10:21 pm
10:22 pm
the largest single energy consumer in the nation it turns out, is the government. think about the buildings, vehicles, it adds up. president obama is ordering federal agencies to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. 40% over the next decade. there is another way to look at cleaning up our environment and air. while it's far-fetched, jake ward explores the possibilities. >> reporter: the amount of
10:23 pm
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere spiked by 40%. trapping heat and changing the planet. the retreat of arctic sea ice doubled in the past five years. rising sea levels are creating disastrous storm surges like hurricane sandy. massive wildfires raging through the west and the latest report lays the blame at the feet of human being. >> so what can we do. experts agree that the priority should be reduce our emissions. what happens if we can't. >> a small number of scientists are working on a backup plan. it's called geoengineering. in which engineers manipulate the atmosphere. one approach is to pull carbon dioxide out of the air scpshes a company in -- and a company in california has a machine that can do that. >> the national community moves slowly. we know we have to do something.
10:24 pm
this we feel is profitable realistic solution implementable today. >> the device removes cot from the atmosphere for use in fertiliser applications. scaled up it could have an impact on the planet. >> by the time you build hundreds or thousands, you can clean up all the co 2 that is put out by humans every year. >> the first thing to understand about carbon dioxide removal is there's no cheap and easy fast fix. >> ken is an atmospheric scientist studying geoengineering. he believes that the scheme is too little too late. >> all the carbon dioxide removal involves infrastructure at the same scale as the energy system. if we have the energy dumping into the atmosphere there's another system of similar size to pull it out.
10:25 pm
>> ultimately the sun is warming up the planet. and some suggest blocking it and reflecting it back into space. cloud brightening is filling a cloud with particles that can reflect the energy. here is one of the best places to experiment with the process. researchers have begun to develop ways to brighten the clouds. >> so the process is to form clouds. if you manage to change the reflectivity of the clouds by 5% say, then you have changed the reflectivity of the earth by 1%. that is enough to offset the effect of doubling co2. >> the device blasts salt water through openings living behind millions of particles. it rises into the air, making existing clouds dense and more
10:26 pm
reflective. lee took us up into the skies over the coast of california to get a look at the clouds that technology would brighten. >> we are putting in little particles of something that the water can condense around. there are already particles in the air, but our approach is to put in more and a good thing to put in is sea salt because we can get that from pumping up sea water and turning it into fine salt particles. you talk about a fleet of 1,000 or 2,000 ships in the planet. offsetting all the water done by the co2 since the industrial age. >> reporter: while the technology could bright ep clouds, it could in specific regions where it is heating up. california is an example. >> on the coast of california we lost about 34% of the cloud
10:27 pm
coverage in summer. all the. that may be a good indication. >> scientists have considered a more controversial strategy creating a cloud around the planet. >> putting a uniform layer of air salt on the stratosphere reducing the change. >> if that is crazy. the idea is based on something that happened in nature. >> the poster child is the eruption. >> the 1991 eruption in the philippines spews millions of tonnes into the air. >> the earth pulled about - it's been kept in the stratos fear.
10:28 pm
we'd need a small fleet of aeroplanes 10, 12, flying up and down. this is something this is a few million. >> reporter: this is a last ditch option having that will continue to encourage greenhouse gas emission and scientists worry tinkering with nature could have unforeseeable and dangerous consequences. melanie fitzpatrick is a climate scientist who studied the impacts of climate change. >> we have to be careful that the cure is not worse than the disease. >> we can seed clouds and put particles to reflect sunlight. the problem is that you have to keep going with it all the time. if we continue to emit carbon at the same time. we have not gone to the root cause of the problem. >> evan fitzpatrick believes we
10:29 pm
know what needs to be done. it takes the political will to do it. >> we know how to moderate climate, adopt energy efficiency, deploy renewables and remove the subsidies from fossil fuels. >> in an age of innovation the idea we can reverse climate change is attractive. the truth is that we can barely understand what geoengineering must do to the planets and skies that all of us must share jacob ward bringing us a breath of fresh air. that's "america tonight", tell us what you think. talk to us on twitter and facebook. come back we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow.
10:30 pm
vladimir putin makes no apology. the russian president is celebrating the event that put the world on edge and plunged america and russia into this new cold car. one year since he seized crimea the fighting rages on in ukraine, and vladimir putin shows no sign of backing down as if dearing the west to stop him. america tried to squeeze him with sanctions, and vladimir