tv Earth Focus LINKTV October 12, 2017 1:30am-2:01am PDT
>> today on "earth focus"... mining, a new film on conflict over a uranium mill in colorado, and reports on the unexpected effects of minining coal in n south africa and gold in ecuador. coming up on "earth focus." filmmaker suzan beraza screened herer new film, "uranium drive-in" at the 2014 enenvironmental film festival in the natation's capital. promise ofof jobs from a proposd uranium mill is a tantalizing prospect for r economicacally devastated colorado town, until environmentalists step in to try to shut itit down. will jobs or healtlth and environment prevail? the film documentnts how a l local commumunity
cocomes to g grips with the did. >> we'e're trying to open up a uraranium mill,l, and they'y'e trying to shut it dowown. you know,w, it's s a big dreaea, and people arere looking forward to these e jobs out there. >> i w want them t to understatd that t there's people here. >> yeah, but i don't think they care about us people. i mean, there's no mpromise.. they don't care about us. >> nuclear power was supposed to be our future. a lot ofof this townwn was heree bececause of union carbide, and then when they left, we're still here. tthey're long gone now. >> it's almost l like we're still surviving, but it's just kind of likike thosese last few breaths. we want to keep breathing, but we've got to get something in here to do it. >> nuclear e energy remamains ourur largest s source of fuel that pproduces no cacarbon emissssions. we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power.r. >> it t is the first uranium mil
to be builtlt in the unitited ss in 25 years. >> the onnly thing i'm inintered in is seeingng this mill get stopped. >> if you'rere only hearing the piece e about jobs, you're not p protectin your c community. i dare you u to do better. >> the people complaining the most are driving to the protests in their mercedes. you can only kick a dog so m many times s and pretty son he's going to turn around and bite you. >> wewe have a lolot of peoplple telling u us that thehe land is s more impoportant ththan i people. >> there is no impact from what we have done or what we e plan to do inin the futurure regarding uranium mine devevelopment. >> we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives, andd that meanans building a newew generatation of safefec, nuclelear powower plants in this cocountry. >> they're not telling you the truth. i'm realally disgusted,, and i'm against this mill.
> ♪ f for the one thatat fee >> i guess, ininitially, going into the film, i probably fefelt that ththe mill was a bad idea, like, why woululd anyone w want toto usher bacack in an inindusy that had obviously shortened people's lives and had d created a lot of environonmental havococ inin the area? so,, i was going to do the film in t this commununity looking at t the pros and cocons within that community. but what i found, which surprised me, is that in that region, almost everyone was unanimously for this uranium mill. soso, i reallyly wanted ththe fm to look from a very human perspective, why t that would b, why people would usher back in this industry. >> as the mayor of naturita, i am very excited and hopeful that in 6 to 8 months we're going to start seeing ore trucks rolling through the town, we'e're going to o see the minig picking up, and we're goiing to seee the milling moving forward. >> the towns of naturita
and nucla are located in the west i in the montrose coun. >> can n everybody hear me okakay out therere? [microphone noise] [laughter] let's talk a a bit aboutt the induststry in general, where our proroject is situated. of course, it is the uranium mining indndustry, nothing g w to you peopl the supupply and demand got s sh that we couould reopenn these facilities, build this mill, and we're going to bring that to reality so that you can reap benenefits from that along g with the c company. [applause] >> uranium has been a huge economic boom to this whole area. these small communities never had it as good as when there was uranium mining. and i do know that when you're struggling to put your kids through college, put food on the table, some of these arenas look very,,
very appppealing. anand i cannonot say thatat if s in that t boat that i wouldn't e right there swimming the same stream. is i it worth h it to open more mineses and more e mills? to me, it is. it's an issue we all face, not just me or the miners. it's an issue t that we all fac, bebecause we do not give up our consumption of fossil fuels, and... so, where e it's going to o lea? i'm jusust a cowgirl. i don't know. >> after spending some time in this s community,y, i reallyly empathized with their position. first of all, they have a very strongng sense ofof communityty and of place, and i feel, if you are from some of these smaller towns in america where community is so important,, yyou don't want to lose that. you know, people just say, "just pick up and go to a city, like, go somewhere else," and they will say,
"no, you know, we love it here. we've been here for generations." i think it started out for me that i thought it would be more of an environmental film, and veryry early on i thought,t, this isis much more a s story abouout rural aameric, and about economy, and how it't's really unfaiair when-- if someone is in a state of desesperation where t they fl that they have to pit jojob agaiainst healthth and enviriro, that's like the expression, you know, being between a rock and a hard place, that's just not a fair place to be. 5 years s we have been tryrying to keep ouour doors open, thinking, "any day now those jobsbs are goingng to be here." these are ththe only people that have come in and offered us jobs. if any of the peoplle here who are agaiainsit had come e in and sasaid they had jobs t to mh iit, we'd be behind that, totoo. bubut right now this is all we''ve gogot. and i just w want the people h e to rememember that t they'rere g 11,200 peoplple fromururviving, and that's really all i want them to know.
is thatat every one of yoyou that has stood up against this cocould have e brought in jobs for us, anand you didndn't yyet, 5 y years. soso, please, , remember that whwhen you guys make ths dedecision.. wewe're e waiting, a and we've n waititing a longng time. thank you. >> the film also strikes on isissues of classismsm as we, becacause tellururide, whichch e of their closest neneighbors, is a very y wealthy ski town, and i really felt that it's also looking at the issue of "you can bebe an environmentalit if you can afford to be an environmentalist." so, obviouously the people in telluride can afford to be concerned about their environment, a and they are, and not a good or a bad thing, not a judgmentnt, but the people in nucla and naturita were extremely frustrated, because they felt like telluride and the opposition to the mill was really slowing down the process in getting the milill built. >> energy fuels and the mill will happen because they have worked diligently in making
that prorocess work.k. but ththe process has hahad a little bit of exextra help from some of thosose people. > they ha kepept this m mill held up a long titime. >> and there's s not a jobb that doesesn't have a a degree-- >> there's more e people killed inin skiing acaccidents than mimining accididents. >> am i the e only one that'ss realizized that nucla started as a hippie commune that got taken ovever by miners, and telluride started as a m mining community that g got taken o over by hipi? >> [laughs] >> damon, ththey don't care.e. >> i think the e biggesthining that i hahave found is it's not ththat they y don't caca, it's just that ththey don''t ununderstand.. you know, , 've always beeeen aa good neighbor, and i think in return n that's whatat we're askining them to d, is s be a good neighbor. come down and d understandnd us, don'n't jujust try to o save us, because wewe don't neeeed to be saved.d. we understand the regulations, wewe undersrstand the pblblems, andnd we're willingng to work through them. >> and, hopefully, audiences will take... will just enjoy
something being balanced, because the film really is balanced a and looking atat both sides. >> e e cotter uranium ml is about two miiles uphill from thehe arkansas river that flows through our communityty. i live a mile and a a quarter from the mill. and so i have two wells that were contaminated by the cotter r uranium mill.l. there are about 125 wells that wewere contamiminated from cotter. nobody told us in all those 8 yearars that the well was contaminated. we tested our welell when we first bought the propoperty, we went to the coununty extensionon off, anand they gavave us the b bott, anand told us s what compmpany to send it to, but they f failed to t tell us the realllly important thing. "hey, have it tested for radiononuclides and heheavy memetals." i do not believe that it is okay
for a company, in order to make profit, to pollute people against their will. i've heard d energy fuel officis stand up in front of big owowds andd say, "oh, that's all frorom the pastst. it''s allll going to be differerent now. we have e better regegulations." you know what? you can look at what has been happening right here, this year, last m month, lastst year, the year befofore, and you can seeee exactly how they will regulalate that mill. the claiaim that nucuclear enery is environmentally y green is just t simply a a myth, because e they're only l looking at t the carbon n dioxide rereld aat the reacactor itselflf. ouour country y has just been bamboozled w with this.. for them to consider building new mills and creating new spots like this, this really, i think, emphasizes
the hidden costs that the people in the country never see that have to do with nuclear energy. >> rarather be ouout mining thaan harveststing tomatatoes. frustration doesn't even come close to describing how we feel about our lives and our choices being taken away from us. when you've been out of work, your unemployment's running out, your savings is gone, your wife and y your kids are gone, people are getting very, very angry. if the economy falters any more, ifif people d don't t realize tt nuclear is our best option, telluride keeps fighting us tooth and nail, it might not happen, period. and i really hope i'm wrong. >> my hope for the film is that audiences who see the film understand that it's really
not a simple issue. when we''re tatalking abouout thinings like the big picture of energy, this is a very small microcosm example of people and lives that are affected by our energy ppolicy, which, especially as americans, use more and more energy. more than europeans, more, obviously, than the rest of the worldld, and yet we don't seem to have a very clear understanding of how we are supposed to keep supplying that energy. attention needs to be made to our energy needs and policies. >> across the atlantic, in south africa, plans to put an open coal pit mine next to a white rhino reserve put the health and welfare of both rhinos and local people at risk. jeff barbee rereports. >> poachingng has bececome cris. the number of rhino killed
for their horn has gone from 13 in 2007, to over 1,000 in 2013 alone. but a new danger to the park may be even more disastrous than the widespread poaching problem in the country. a new o open-castst coal mimine on the southerrn borderr of the park threaeatens this, africa's most important rhino breeding ground. park officials here worry that this new danger could be a deep dark hole for rhino conservation, because the mine will pollute the air with dangerous gases, like toluene and benzene, and blow toxic coal dust over this wilderness area. the mine will also discharge acid mine water laceded with sulfuric idid and radioactive byprproducts iinto the e umfolozi river, where the parark's animals and the livestock of the surrounding community all drink. >> and when we c ce here, we come here to kind d of, like, to unwind and experience the wild, and now there's a mine happening on
the edge of the wilderness, and itit's dilututing evevery expeperience that the people are getting here. >> if hundreds of rhinos are killed for their horn, the population can be reestablished as long as enough are saved. but if the park is polluted with toxic mine waste, this last refuge of the rhino will be lost forever. >> where our concern lies is with respect to dust, because there's no analysis of the dust, in terms of the toxic components within that dust, given the coal mining, and the blasting,g, and that s sort of thing. w, you canan feel this wind. this wind is blowing across us right into the game reserve. so, they m mine here, this southeastern wind will carry the dust, and the fallout will be in the park, in the wilderness area. >> if it goes ahead, the coal m mine will be right against the boundary fence of the park. this community of 1,200 people
will be forciblyy relocatated off the land. another coal mine openened in 2007, 10 kilomets s away from ththe village, and peopople herere already fall sick from breathing the toxic dust. >> [speaking afrikaans] >> this is an aerial view of the older mine, which nduna's nephew says is already causing their cattle to dieie. >> we are also feeling the consequences of them allowing that mine there. we''ve already witnessed some of our cows dying. the past year, i'm talking about from june last year till now, i myself have lost about 18 of them. >> to have so many fall ill and die means that the rhinos
and other animals next door in the e park who drink the same water are also in danger. in rural africa, cows are the real wealth, like living, walking bank accounts. to pay for a child's education, ndimande would sell a few cows, but now that is out of the question. this is a small community right on the edge of imfolozi park, and the community experiences a lot of benefits from the park itself, and they are very concerned about what's going to happen if the mine goes in just next to the park and right within their community. >> we are right next to the game reserve, and by us allowing the mine to take over this land there, and then it will mean those animals in the game reserve e will e end up sufferig because of the pollution. >> the dangers of having a mine right on the border of the park is not lost to roroger porter. he''s the former head of c conservation n and planning at the park's administration.
he agrees with ndimande that the mine could not only threaten the animals, but could make poaching worse. >> the whole securitity issue has not been addressed. mines tend to be a magnet, drawing in people froom surroundining areas because of the potential opportunity of jobs. universally, it's well known that levels of crime increase around mines. so, poaching is a crime. >> according to dr. player, if the mine and the poaching are not stopped, the whole web of life that has been protected here for over a century will fail. >> there's no doubtbt in my m md that if thahat mine went ahead, it would d destroy y the wildld. >> in a press statement, ibutho coal, who declined to comment on this story,y, tououted jobs as a major benenet to thehe local economy when the mine comes in.
but according to the community, the mine has not consulted them, or even told them where they will be forced to relocate to. for more than 100 years, the hluhluwe-imfolozi park has been a sanctuary for rhinos and many other endangered animals. it is a place that i inspires visitors, communities, and conservationists all over the world. to lose this area in a coal mining operation is unacceptable to dr. player. >> the people, they say, "it's impossible, you can't defeat these big mininng companies." and we said, "no, you can." but you've got to know that what you are doing is absolutely right. if you know that, then the rest is strategy and tactics. >> this is jeffrey barbee reporting from the hluhluwe-imfolozi park in south africa for link tv. >> in ecuador's highlands,
indigenous communitities fight foreign gold mining companies in an effort to save something even more precious than gold to them: their water. constantino de miguel reports. >> ecuador is a sosouth american country with a booming economy driven, in large part, by the world's appetite for its raw materials. ecuador is blessed with some of the richest biological diversity in the world. the wealth of its fauna and flora can be seen in the kimsakocha wetlands in the andes highlands. but beneath the ground there is gold and copper that are set to be exploited on a grand scale. the ecuadorian government awarded concessions to foreign companies to exploit this region, despite local opposition by peasants and indigenous communities whose agriculture depends on the local water resources. the 2,000 families that live on the kimsakocha asked the government to withdraw the mining concessions in 2007. but when ecucuadorian prpresidet rafael correa refused,
>> ecuador has attracted several foreign mining corporations interested in extracting gold, silver, copper, and other metals, mostly from the southern parts of the country. the projected mines are all large scale and stand to signifificantly alter the local ecosystems. toronto-based iamgold got the license to drill on kimsakocha in 2000, then sold the concessions to another canadian company, inv metals, in 2012. these protected natural and forest area of over 34,000 hectares is in danger, but the gold fever is pervasive. according to perez, the mining company already exploring in the area has destroyed the harmony of the local communities. >> [speaking spanish]
>> to obtain just two grams of gold, one ton o of rocks needs to bebe moveved, brokenen down, and sifted. the company will use heavy dump trucks, make big open pits, and use explosives to crash the mineral. an open pit gold mine is like a huge chemical plant where cyanide, mercury, and sulfuric acid are used to extract the mineral. these elements are mixed with the ore to separate gold from waste. the resulting waste will accumulate on mountain sides, contaminating water sources with heavy metals and chemicals harmful for human health. pressure to extract rich minerals like gold or copper from these highlands is increasing. chinese and canadian companies have succeeded to persuade the ecuadorian government
to grant licenses to open up this ground, ignoring the opposition from the native population. president rafael correa is now confronting the quechua indians after he pledged to defend their interests when he was elected 7 years ago. ppresident rafael correa has been concentrating power around his government after being reelected to a third term. now correa's leadership and popularity is threatened by grarassroots and indian movovements that oppose his d de to make mining a main source of revenue for ecuador. >> [speaking spanish]
>> ecuador faces a tough dilemma. should its natural resources be exploited on a large industrial scale? or should they be preserved for the sake of the environmental protection? according to this analyst, mineral riches are the only means to finance healtlth, education, and public works, so necessary for the development of the country. >> [speaking spanish]
[applause] man: whoo-hoo! john: good afternoon. woman: good afternoon. john: so, i guess i'i'm not in church today, huh? good afternoon. audience: good afternoon. john: thank you. so, first of all, i want to thank kenny and nina, uh, for bringing us together and, more importantly, for the work t they've done for the last 25 yearars. andnd i'm e it started before then. and i also want to thank all of you