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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  December 29, 2014 6:30am-7:01am EST

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future. >> for those are depending on the russian economy a weak ruble means trouble ahead. al jazeera, northern china. >> just remind you you can keep up to date by logging onto our website the e.p.a. wants to reduce ways from coal burning power plants. residents say it's too little, too late, why they are afraid to drink the water. energy prices are dropping like a rock. in new england the cost is on the rise. why. and our new series "between the lines", a look at why congress is giving sacred native american land in arizona to a foreign mining company in the name of national security. i'm david shuster in for ali
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velshi, and this is "real money". the environmental protection agency unveiled the first federal regulation governing the storage of coal ash, the waste left over after power plants burn coal. the new rules are weaker than environmentalists hoped for. they fail to classify coal ash as hazardous waste or deal with sites. one incident fresh in the minds of north carolinans saw tens of thousands of coal ash spill into the dan river after a storage unit bebelonging to duke energy ruptured. robert ray reports on how cope. >> reporter: tonnes of waste from cole-fired power plants. plants. >> arsenic
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chromium and lead. >> reporter: poured out of a cracked pipe into a major river in north carolina last february. >> duke energy cannot fail, we take the responsibility seriously. river. >> reporter: duke energy is the largest electric company in the u.s. after the spill a federal grand jury began to look into their relationship with north carolina regulators. miles away from the dan river spill a shuttered goal planned overlooks the river, as toxic ash seeps into the groundwater. dukeville. >> you guys are not drinking your water. you are afraid there's goal ash in it. there are jugs of water you have to drive to get tox. >> yes. >> how about bathing your kids. >> we don't bathe the kids in the water. the paediatrician says it's not in the best interests of the children to do that.
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>> joanne and ron thomas live down the road. >> reporter: you and your husbands created a map that shows 22 people in the area with deadly diseases, here are the coal ash. across the street, cancer. >> right. . >> three brain tumor. >> reporter: braintumor. >> yes. and then across over the street had another brain timour. >> we have heard questions and concerns from residents near the plant that are hearing so much hype about the goal cash and we take seriously the concerns we are not finding evidence that coal ash is impacting groundwater. facilities that are not being addressed. the country is proactive. >> i don't call it hype, it's serious. died. >> reporter: duke energy with the state department of vicial and natural resources sampled the water.
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residents like the thomases watched duke take samples in areas that would not show high levels of toxicity. how are the text results different between the river keepers in duke? >> i think that it's really about the collection method. one of the things that we are finding is sometimes these samples. many? them. >> reporter: duke says that allows the metals and coal ash to read at high levels. river keeper will scott says the testing follows sidelines. >> we don't think it makes sense to filter out the contaminants we are testing for. duke will do what maybes the samples look better for them. duke energy spends millions on political contributions in north carolina. the state's government worked for the country for 29 years, this year the budget was cut for ponds.
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>> part of what we want is for the management of duke to fully understand the tapingers that their companies practices are foisting on the people of the state and our rivers, and we it. >> duke says it will have 32 coal ash ponds in the state cleaned up by 2029 - a cost between 2-$8 billion. for the residents near the ponds daily life is a struggle as many will not use the water supply, and worry about their future as robert ray's story shows, coal-fired electricity can be a dirty business. one c.e.o. who has not shied away from the fact is energy energy's david crane who described his company as the fourth-largest polluter in merge. energy burns a lot of coal and has no plans to abandon it. as ali velshi found out it's a company banking on the future of
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renewable energy. >> reporter: the last time we saw a collapse in the price of oil, it took the wind out of wind alternatives and solar at the time. a number of things happened in spaces that caused them to look like fringe technologies. in the intervening years people have started to make money, more so wind and solar. you made bets on both. the wind bet has not worked out. and the solar bet you put more money on the table. explain to me. >> wind technology economic. it is changing kinetic energy into electric energy. you have to make them big, which means that you have to put big wind terms away from the population. that requires high voltage transmission lines. i have never been a believer that this country wants to build a lot of high voltage transmission lines.
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that made us a little sceptic about wind. having said that, people are bidding wind power at 2-3 cents costello watt wholesale, a low price, competitive with fossil fuel at that price. solar, on the other hand is a nanotechnology, the only nanotechnology in our industry, and downsizes well. so solar power on a distributor basis in the united states competes against the retail price for electricity, meaning that you can avoid the charges. >> the concept being that you home. >> yes, as a home owner you are monetising an underutilized asset, your own solar resource. if you could make solar on your own house, increase property, and the real estate industry proved that, if you can make
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electricity at home cheaper than than the grid, why wouldn't everyone do that. 30 million homes, economic rationality - they should have solar on the roof. an average 25-30,000, you are talking about a trillion dollars of economic opportunity, and i don't know that many other industries, you know, iphone 6s where there's a trillion economic opportunity. we are keen to push that. the other thing we like about it is if i put solar on your house, you and i have a relationship for 20 years. we do it by a 20 year lease, and there's no energy technology coming in and around the house. what i covet with you, i want you to trust me, like me, and i want you to be the person you turp to as you think about bringing your built environment into the 21st century.
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>> you expect or hope to be a market. >> yes. customer. >> we covet the customer interface for home own erps, and recognise as much as electricity is a critical part of the 20th century, it is being consumed in a different way. the lifestyle is more port able moving around and connected. i am sure you have seen it. people out and about for 28 hours, the cellphones are running out power. life. >> we also get into what we call personal power. my goal with you is forwhatever you are doing, however you do it, we want you energized by us. >> let me ask about your view,
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the grid, high voltage lines. we see the grid and the way electricity is distributed, as something that has not modernized sufficiently. you are sure it will. this is where you fall out with c.e.o.s and cohorts. you see a different world. explain that to me. the world in which we have grown up is the same. transition lines transformers, wires that go into your house and you plug something in. >> if we were sitting as a third chair, he'd recognise... >> perfect. >> in fact, i recognise the poles, i put them up. yes, it's a system that was designed in the 1920s, and 1930s. i think the american grid was voted the greatest energizing achievement of the 20th century, and the most important word is 20th century. in this country, distribution part is, i think, the weakest link. most of the utilities build above ground wooden poles.
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we have a 21st century economy depending on poles. which anyone who lived through superstorm sandy know they are not up to the challenges much the utilities that open the system. i'm not necessarily opposed to that. keep in mind investing into the grid in the united states is the same thing as sinking money into fixed line telephony. >> why do that when everything is going wireless? >> yes. >> it's interesting. it's used as an example of people saying money is cheap. we need people to work, why not make it a big infrastructure project, fixing the grid. your earn would be? >> it's a stranded asset. people mr use the grid less and less. there'll be fewer electrons
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crossing the grid. to create a grid based online ya growth from in the past is insane. we are in a situation that is about to be disrupted. i called the post authorisation of the grid, because it becomes the backup. in the 21st century, it should be the back up to most generating their own power next, something is not right in new england, energy prices have not been this cheap in years. why are people paying more to stay warm. >> that story when "real money" continues. by the way, tell us what is on your mind by: >> protestors are gathering... >> there's an air of tension right now...
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>> the crowd chanting for democracy... >> this is another significant development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live...
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>> from stage to screen oscar nominated actor ethan hawk >> the theatre has always bee my first love... >> separating art & politics >> if you have an agenda with people... you sometimes don't see the truth >> and the lifelong influence of his mother >> she was worried i was gonna be a spoiled brat and not see how complicated the world was >> every monday, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time... talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america plunging crude oil is helping consumers save on
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gasoline to home heating oil, down about 20%. some people who heat their homes with natural gas are looking forward to savings. prices fell 9% this week to a 2-year low because of record productions and warmer weather. the forecast for savings is not right in one part of the country - new england. in six states the cost of staying warm is rising. we explain why. >> reporter: this woman is one of millions of americans who heat their homes with natural gas. half of u.s. households do. >> i heat with oil but i made the switch to gas. >> reporter: she was drawn to gas because it is generally cheaper than oil. newly released data predicts heating bills will drop by as much as $800. because nadya lives in new england savings may not be as high. the reason - distribution. not enough gas can get to the area.
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the squiggly blue lines show the pipelines coming into the north-east. most are in pennsylvania and delaware. by the time you get to the six states making up new england there's a thinning, and it is blamed for price spikes in heating and electricity. >> the highest bill last winter was $285. >> the u.s. energy administration says households in the north-east will likely pay more in national gas on average. they are expected to rise 7% over last year. and more turn up the heat. adding to the shortage increased demand from the region's power plant. it turns out they need natural gas as much as nadia. a power plant can consume natural amounts. to understand the impact power plants have, consider this - in 200040% of the region's
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electricity was produced using coal or oil. to day that figure is less than 7%. natural gas, by contrast is used to general half of all the energy consumed in the region. ann george is an executive and her organization administers the vast electricity market. billions of energy are brought and sold much it's like a stock exchange. right now, one of the driving forces behind the flickering lights is national gas. >> it's correlated to the price of the fuel. gas. >> reporter: people that heat their homes with electricity are experiencing higher prices because of a lack of pipeline capacity. lawmakers and developers are considering plans to build more price lines. it may lower prices, environmentalists and social
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justice groups say the reason it looks to permanent forms dash even if it means higher prices in the short term, energy efficiency and renewable resources have to be front and center. the goal is to reduce reliance on a single energy source and lessen the environmental impact. switching to gas was supposed to offer big savings. market forces are tightening wallets over new england. >> thank got i have a job. i try to do my best to keep up while the price of oil and gas dropped, one economist said energy in the u.s.a. is unaffordable for more and more americans. according to roger colton, americans will be charged $39 billion more than they can electricity. >> there are certain attributes that can be associated with a household's home energy bill,
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the size of the household, the size of the housing unit, the location of the housing unit. so we have developed a mathematical model relating all of those so that we can, on a county by county base for the country determine what home energy bills are, and the extent to which those bills exceed affordable bills. >> and the extent to which they do exceed affordable bills, what is the broad impact? >> unaffordable bills represent a drag on the economy as a whole. there's a variety of reasons for that. one is that when people are having financial difficulties at home, it is difficult for those individuals to be good workers, they are less productive when they are at work. they miss more time. and the people - the firms that - and companies that use
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those workers suffer as a result. in addition, however, there are costs that unaffordable home energy impose on the economy as a whole. for example, unaffordable home energy creates health care costs, that the economy as a whole has to pick up, and those increased costs, which are unnecessary and avoidable create whole. >> as we saw in the report, there's a need for gas pipeline infrastructure in the north-east. that would have a significants cost -- significant cost, but would be a cost factor that there was an effort to move towards alinterpretive energy. who -- alternative energy like solar. who should pay for it all? >> there'll be increased costs in the future. there's no way to avoid the increased costs - whether we are
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moving toward an increase in renewable energy, such as solar energy, whether we are repairing and expanding the infrastructure. rate payers, households, individuals are going to pay those increased costs. all residential, all commercial, all customers are going to pay the increased costs. how about a sliding scale as you advocated, in terms of a sliding charged. >> when we work with utilities, i explained to them that there's a group of people in the united states who simply cannot afford to pay their home energy bills today. unfortunately, that group of people is getting bigger and bigger. 10 years ago or 15 years ago that group of people may have been limited to low income households in particular, but more and more, the focus who cannot afford to pay home energy
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bills are moving into the middle class. and when that happens, the utilities suffer as a business as well. it is ineffective and ipp efficient to bill someone a bill that they cannot afford to pay. you can send the bill, but people will not pay it, and the utilities end up looking the revenue that they need to invest in - and to make the investments, whether in local infrastructure, distribution infrastructure, transition infrastructure, but to make the investments needed to continue to private adequate service. >> is there another part of the country other than new england where the cost exceeds the ability of a lot of consumers to pay for it? >> yes, we tend to think of new england as being an area with significant home energy, unaffordability because of the
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price of fuel oil, the cost of home heating. but really, in fact, electricity is a bigger portion of household bills, and when we look around the country, we find that there are areas such as the south atlantic region from maryland, virginia, the east coast and the deep south, where there are old and inefficient homes, bigger families, and there are significantly higher unaffordability problems in those regions in the country than in new england. it is not simply a home-eating problem. it's not simply a new england problem. it is a problem in all regions of country. >> hard to believe. congress wants to give sacred native land away to a foreign copper mining company. you have to read between
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loips lines to find it. we did, that story is next.
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there's usually more to a story that meets the eye, and we intend to show it to you in the new series "between the lines", what does a national force in ards arizona have to do with national security. you may think nothing, congress decision. when it passed a bill it contained provisions that this nothing to do with defense. one had native americans feeling betrayed, it has land that is a cultural and historical interest to the apache tribe. we go "between the lines." >> reporter: tucked away between the lines of a massive defense bill in washington are the rites
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to this - protected land that is held sick red by apache tribes much pore more than a decade a british and australian mining company rio tinto, and resolution copper spent millions to lobby congress to get in here to get at an enormous copper government. congress and the president are set to hand over 2400 acres of a national forest to resolution copper. in return it would set aside 5,000 acres of its own land. so why, you mite ask, is this in a defense bill? >> a chief energy security. >> senator john mccain 's office says it critical. mccain helped to insert the land deal into the bill, in spite of controversy over rio tinto iranian mine in namicia, in which -- namibia, in which iran holds a 15% stake.
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>> being part of a group of people that lost land to begin with and see it lost again is saddening to our people. >> resolution copper's new mine would turn the spot into a 2-mile crater, 1,000 feet deep. >> rio tinto owned mineral rites around the area, but not here. that's the main reason for the bill. when you look at this, this ground it federal ground, owned by the u.s. government, but is ceded to a foreign mining company. for those hike this man, an. -miner and former mayor, it's the way of lands are acquired that is disturbing. >> there's a policy and procedure to do this, and i don't think they are following it. i hear people say "that's how it gets down, that's how they do if in washington." that's the problem. arizona ranked sixth in the world, and accounts for some
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50,000 jobs across the region. resolution says the new mine satisfies copper demands, adding jobs and providing billions to state covers. >> looking at 1400 permanent jobs and 3500 construction jobs, it's a huge impact. >> but many of those jobs require highly skilled labour, having men wondering how much prosperity will be brought to the region, a doctors trust for those with a history of being pushed off the land and that is our show for today, i'm david shuster, on behalf of the team at "real money", thank you for joining us. >> i'm ali velshi,
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