tv Democracy Now LINKTV March 9, 2018 8:00am-9:01am PST
president trump accept north korea's offer for a summit with president kim jong-un of north korea. we will get the latest. arsenic, lead, , mercury. a new government r report reveas these chehemicals among many are contaminating groundndwater arod coal plants. now scott pruitt annouounces evn weaker regulations on coal ash didisposal. we will l go to alababama to lot a b black community fighting a coal ash down, saying it violates the civil rights act. and we will speak with a lawyer just back from puerto rico where residents are fighting another toxic coal ash dump. the government of puerto rico is greeting health proroblems, d for memental problem, problem fr the future in the coming generations. we want puerto rico to close the coal-fired power plant. amy: that "overlooked."
obituaries have been dominated by white men in "the new york times." now they're adding the stories, to begin with, 50 remarkable women to fill in the gap. the list might surprise yoyou. it includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist ida b. wells, the poet sylvia plath, qiu jin, who was known as china's joan of arc, and more. none of them in obituaries in "the times" at the time of their debt. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house says president trump has accepted an invitation to meet directly with north korea's leader kim jong un. this is south korea's national security head chung eui-yong speaking to reporters thursday night outside the white house after briefing officials on the recent talks between seoul and pyongyang. >> preresident trump appreciated
-- said he would meet kim achieveby may to denuclearization. amy: thehe south korean n officl went o on to sayay the meeeetind take placece within two months. no sitting u.s. president hass ever m met with a north korean leader. kim jojo-un has nenever met another head of state. thursday night's announcement was a complete surprise. it came at a t time when trump s been besetet with escalating questions about his alleged affair with adult film star stormy danieiels, inclcluding questions about whether a $130,000 pay-off to her, sent by trump's persrsonal lawyer only days before the 2016 election , could have violated federal election law. thursday's announuncement of direct talks e even appepeared e a complete surprprise within the trump white house.e. only hours earlier, secretary of state rex tillerson said talks were a long way away. >> in terms of direct talks with dates in the u.s.
negotiations, and we are a long way from negotiations. i think we just need to be very clear i did an realistic c about it. amy: that was the secretary of state rex tillerson speaking thursday in addis ababa, ethiopia. this is tillerson speaking today in djibouti. toin terms of the decision engage between president trump and commander allen, that is a decisision the president tookk kim jong-un, that is a decision b between a president to consult. amy: the potential talks between president trump and north korean leader kim jong un come after a delegation of south korean officials traveled to pyongyang to meet with president kim jong-un, where he said he'd suspend nuclear weapons tetestig in order to hold talks with the united states. we will have more on the possible talks after headlines. in syria, the government is continuing to launch airstrikes and shelling against eastern ghouta, outside the capital damascus. monitors say more than a dozen people were killed thursday.
the group doctors without borders has more than 1000 people have been killed and nearly 5000 more have been wounded in the last two weeks alone. on thursday, france reiterated its threats of intervention against the syrian government if claims of chemical weapons attacks in eastern ghouta are verified. the syrian government has repeatedly denied carrying out chemical weapons attacks during the ongoing conflict, including in eastern ghouta. in afghaniststan, police officis say at least seven were killed and seven other wounded in a suicide attack in the capital kabul today. meanwhwhile, pakistani officials say a suspected u.s. drone strike in eastern afghanistan, near the border with pakistan, killed more than 20 people on wednesday. the officials say the victims were members of the pakistani taliban. president trump signed controversial orders to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum on thursday, while surrounded by steelworkers. pres. trump: today i am defending america's national
security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum. we will have a 25% tariffs on foreign steel and a 2% tariff on foreign aluminum. when the product comes across our borders. amy: the tariffs, which have sparked tensions with u.s. allies, will temporarily exclude mexico and canada, despite the white house earlier saying there would be no exceptions to the tariffs. pres. trump: due to our unique relationship with canada and mexico, we are negotiating right now nafta and we're going to hold off the tariffs on those two countries to see whether or not we are ablble to make the el on nafta. national security, very important aspect of that deal. amy: after signing the tariffs, trump now heads to a steel mining area of pennsylvania, where he'll hold a rally saturday night to campaign for republican congressional
candidate rick saccone, who is facing off against democratic former prosecutor conor lamb in a special election on march 13. the special election will fill the seat left vacant by republican tim murphy, who resigned last year after revelations that the vehemently anti-abortion lawmaker had pressured a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion. the mississippi legislature has just passed one of the most restrictive antiabortion laws in the country, banning abortions after 15 weeks, even in the case of rape or in says. mississippi republican governor phil bryant has signaled he will sign the bill, tweeting -- "i want mississippi to be the safefest place in amererica forn unborn child." the white house is refusing to comply with the house oversight committee's investigation into how former white house staff
secretary rob porter was allowed to work with interim secure declarantthe white house is say. the fbi says porter did not receive full security clearances because his background check was held up by accusations of verbal and physical abuse by his two ex-wives. the white house new these allegations were holding up his ground check, but it continue to allow him to serve in the administration until porter was forced to resign when a photograph of porter's first wife appeared with a black eye.. in turkey, the committee to prprotect journalists hass condemned a turkish court for sentencing at least 22 jojournalists to prison-time on terrorism-related charges.s. all the journalists deny the accusations. their sentences come amid a widespread crackdown by the turkish government against journalists, academicscs, and human rights activists. back in the united states, a video has gone viral of border patrol agents ripping a woman away from her three daughters and forcibly detaining her in san diego, california. the video, which has now been
viewed nearly 8 million times, shows the agents detaining perla morales-luna and forcing her into a border patrol car as her daughters scream and call for their mom. the video was uploaded by one of the girls' teachers. border patrol says morales-luna was arrested for being in the country without authorization. meanwhile, the immigrations and customs enforcement agency, known as ice, has detained a prominent immigrant and reproductive rights activist named alejandra pablos. advocates say her detention during the routine ice check-in in phoenix is retaliation for her activism, particularly for protesting outside the homeland security department office in virginia earlier this year. pablos works for the national latina institute for reproductive health. she is a legal permanent resident who grew up in arizona, but a conviction for driving under the influence nearly a decade ago makes her subject to deportation.
is alejandra pablos spspeaking n a facebook video after shehe was detained. >> i just got detatained by eye. i went to court yesterday. i turned in my political asylum application. i went in today thinking they detained. to -- i was now i am being detained illegally and i'm going to the detention center. out there fighting. amy: and women across the world took to the streets to mark international women's day on thursday. in spain, women launchch the first-everer nationwide e femint stririke. in italy, women led a major transportation strike that shut down many trains, busses and flights across italy. in argentina, tens of thousands of women marched only days after argentine lawmakers agreed for the first time to debate the legalization of abortion.
rallies were also held from afghanistan to south korea to india to the syrian-turkish border. in the u united states, , teachs in arizona wore red to work and discussed a possible strike on the heels of the successful west virginia teachers strike. the overwhelming number of teachers in west virginia are women. in new york city, hundreds marched through downtown manhattan. this is genesis aquino, a university student and member of the laundry worker's center. >> the policies the administration is trying to put in place. my livelihood is being put in danger. we are fighting for better housing rights, for labor rights, for safe conditions, for anti-harassment, and just to be safe and to be able to be a life, you know? broadcast, wethe will speak with "the new york times" editor that has launched
a new series hold about extraordinary women that did not have obituaries written of about the at the time of their deaths. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'i'm amy goodman. the white house says president trump has accepted an invitation to meet directly with north korea's leader kim jong un. this is south korea's national security head chung eui-yong speaking to reporters thursday night outside the white house, after briefing officials on the recent talks between seoul and pyongyang. >> personal gratitude for president trumump's leadership s i told president trump that now leading nortrth korean leader km jong-il and, he is committed to denuclearization.
kim pledged the north korea will refrain from any further nuclear tests. he underststands that routine -- he expressed his eagerness to make president trump as soon as possible. president trump officiated the meeting and said he would meet achieve-un by may to denuclearization. amy: the south korean official went on to say the meeting would take place within two months. no sitting u.s. president has ever met with a north korean leader. kim jong-un has never met anotother head of state. from anywhere in the world. thursday night''s announcement was a completete surprise to ma. it came at a time when trump has been beset with escalating questions about his alleged affair with adult film star
stormy daniels, including questions about whether a $130,000 pay-off to her, sent by trump's personal lawyer, only days before the 2016 election could have violated federal election law. thursday's announcement of direct talks even appeared to be a complete surprise within the trump white house. only hours e earlier, secretaryf state rex titillerson said talks were a long waway awayay. >> in terms of direct talks, we are longayay from negotiatition. i think we just need to be very clearr eyed and realistic about it. i i think the first step p -- ie said this before -- - is to have talks, has some kind o of talks aboutt talks because i i don't w yet until we are able to meet oursrselves faface-to-face with representatitives of north korea whether ththe condititions are t to even begin taking about
negotiations. amy: that was rex tillerson speaking thursday in addis ababa, ethiopia. this is tillerson speaking today in djibouti. >> in terms of the decision to engage between president trump and kim jong-un, that is a position the president took himself. amy: the potential talks between president trump and north korean president kim jong-un come after a delegation of south korean officials traveled to pyongyang to meet with kim jong-un, where he said he would suspend nuclear weapons testing in order to hold talks with the united states. in an op-ed for "the new york times," victor cha, a former national security council director for asia, wrote -- "while the unpredictability of a meeting between these two unconventional leaders provides unique opportunities to end the decades-old conflict, its failure could also push the two countries to the brink of war." been underhave consideration for u.s.
ambassador to south korea until the trump administration dropped him when cha criticized the idea of a preemptive strike on north korea. for more, we go to washington, d.c., to speak with tim shorrock, correspondent for the nation and the korea center for investigative journalism in seoul. welcome back to democracy now! what did you think when you heard this announcement lalast night?t? >> thank you. i was, frankly, elated. i was kind of expecting this. i'm going to take a moment here of personal privilege to say i have been on this show for 10 years talking about the need for the united states to talk directly to north korea to resolve this crisis and bring an end to the korean war. i feel very vindicated today that this has happened. against the wishes of the media, the think tanks who have been down on this idea and have criticized it and are still criticizing it as we speak. they cannot deal with the fact that the two koreas have come to an agreement to reach a peace accord in the koreas and end
this state of war between the united states and north korea. i think it is a very, very important day and we should be very gratified for the work of president moon hae-in. i interviewed him a year ago. i was the only american president to talk to him during -- i was the only american journalist to talk to him. amy: the south korean president. >> who was elected in may. mr. moon told me in reference to the criticism from people in washington that he would divide the u.s. and south korea by pushing for peace engagement with north korea. he said, well, in my view, if we can resolve the situation between north and south korea and resolve the tensions between north korea and the united states, that would be good for the united states and that would be good for president trump will stuff and his gamble was correct. he took it and it works. we now have a situation where moon helping negotiate a move toward talks that are going to
lead to a conclusion to this crisis. i think it is a really terrific day for korea and for peace in the world. amy: if you can talk about the tech talk of this yesterday that we have come to understand, yet the south korean officials apparently in the white house, not speaking to president trump, but two other people in the white house to report on the meeting they just had with president cam of north korea in pyongyang. that they are around and asks to speak to them. it is after that that he, what, this according to "the new york times," poked his head into the pressroom to give the reporters a heads-up about what is about to happen and then it was the south korean officials who walked outside into the night under the portico, the national security adviser of south korea, and made this announcement. >> the significance is that when president moon took office last
may, he said south korea should be in the drivers seat of the korea peace initiative. an engagement with north korea. south korea should be in the driver's seat. he has remained there and stayed there. he may offers last year to north korea to meet. they rejected it. they did not respond for over a year as they kept going under nuclear and missile program to defend themselves against what they believe is a threat from the united states. finally january 1, kim jong-un said he would send a high-level andgation to the olympics engage with talks with south korea. this is the result of the south korean initiative. the fact thahat trump may have poked his head in their, have heard about the meeting a and briefing at the last minute shows that south korea is in fact in the drivers seat. i think that is very important. the united states has been ,upporting these initiatives
despite the fact that vice president pence which of the olympics and completely ignored the north koreans behind him and was ignored to his host. they know these talks have been going on. i think we need to focus on the role south korea has played and the historical -- you know, the history of north-south engagement in talks. amy: where do you expect -- they're saying this summit will take clays in may. word to you expect it will take place? might president trump go too north korea, south korea? they have not said anything at this point whether they would do this and host this. >> that is anybody's guess. i would be surprised, frankly, if trump to go to john yang, but that is a possibility. it might be in a city close to their such as beijing. even a city in russia and that part of the pacific area. it could be anywhere. i think that fact that trump is willing to meet with tim jong own desk kim jong-un shows the
united states understands that only through direct negotiations said talks can the situation be resolved. i think it is important to look that northessions korea made. after all, one of the big issues they have had for years has been these u.s.-south korean military exercises that take place twice a year. which i have talked about quite a lot on this show. they practiced things over the years things like decapitation of the leadership of north korea and assassination and regime change. well, north korea agreed to these talks and said they would suspend their nuclear tests and missile tests while in the talks with ford, but they will also not object to u.s.-south korean military exercises if they were scaled down. they have been scaled down. there's a story this morning in the south korean press that the
u.s. aircraft carriers and summaries that normally take part in these exercises that are going to begin in late march will not take part. so i think there has been, over -- last few months and weeks, the herb and behind-the-scenes talks between the u.s. and north korea on sort of the terms of this agreement. they have been in close touch jae-in ms.,. amy: what you think about victor comment. they dropped them because ththey were concerned about a preemptive strike, the u.s. preventive strike of north korea when he says the unpredictably of the meeting between these two dimensional leaders provides unique opportunities to end the decades-old conflict, it's all your could also push the two countries to the brink of war. do you think that is too pessimistic? >> i think it is way too pessimistic and a little ridiculous, frankly. he was cut out of the situation.
he was not named ambassador. i think is a little bit bitter about that. and you say this is when a bring on war when we were on the verge of war, i think is pretty silly. at stake about what is right now. what you think n north korea wants. there are talking about no more nuclear testing until the summit, if it is happening. and they are allowing these u.s.-south korean military exercises to take place. what does the u.s. one out of it? south korea? and north korea? teste looking at the unit reunification of the peninsula? >> uninification is a long way off, but i think this is a first step. first there has to be peaceful. what the united states w wants s the denuclearization of north korea and the denuclearization of north korea. that made that clear. but that was not possible as a condition for talking most of north korea made that very clear.
what north korea has wanted and has been saying for years is an and to what they call bs hostile policy toward them. in and to nuclear threats against them, nuclear war threats against them, a and ando these exercises with actually practice regime change. in an e end to the sanctions tht are definitetely hurting the noh korean economy. north korea wants normal relations with the united states, and has been wanting that for years. i think it's objective is to have a peace treaty. the korean war ended in an armistice. there is a necessity to end of this war through a peace treaty. if you have a peace treaty, there is no need to shoot nukes, for them to threaten the united states with nuclear weapons advice for some. so wekorea wants peace could do something economically for its people will stop the united states wants denuclearization and i think south korea, honestly, once peace and wants to move toward a more further engagement in going back to the policies of the past
of the sunshine policies when there was cultural and sports an intellectual, academic exchanges, and they built, you know, strong ties between north and south korea during that time, during the sunshine era. amy: is it too cynical to say, look at what happened with daca, with president trump's complete reversal, just on gun control where he was adjusting the most comprehensive gun control legislation and then completely reversed. is it too cynical to say right now the new cycle was completely dominated by this hush money paid to a woman, stormy daniels, who alleges that truck had an affair with her and they wanted -- before thelencerer on the n election. that he wanted to stop this new cycle that was enveloping everything post up it is stunning and historic come up and then he will simply reverse? >> trump is completely
unpredictable, for sure. it is too cynical to say. these negotiations have been going on for weeks now. kim jong-un made his overture on january 1. jae-in excepted obstinately. -- accepted almost instantly. they discuss for hours the possibility of negotiation, the possibility of moving forward on gateway. the timing is coincidental that it happens to coincide with this other scandal that isis hitting trump. i think this has been going on fofor weeks. this is the fruition of it. they met in pyongyang and had this totally and president meeting at the workers party headquarters and north korea will stop no south korea has ever gone there. no leader had ever been -- no leaders of south korea never
been invited there. they met with kim jong-un and is highest-ranking leaders. that long discussions and they came back and moon said before anything happens, we're going to brief the united states. and they carried this letter, purely from kim jong-un to trump, inviting him to meet. that is what happened. trump ishappened with just a coincidence. amy: do you think december 10 we may say north korean leader k km jong-un, president donald trump, and president moon receiving the nobel peace prize in oslo, norway? >> i silly thing president moon would deserve it, for sure -- i certainly think president moon would deserve it, for sure. amy: tim shorrockk, thank you fr being with us, investigative journalist based in washington, d.c. his book "spies for hire: the secret world of outsourced , intelligence." grew up in tokyo and seoul and has been writing about the u.s. role in korea since the 1970's. he is a correspondent for the
nation and the korea center for investigative journalism in seoul. when we come back, the epa chief scott pruitt has announced he is rolling back regulations on coal ash, the chemicals around the coal plants in this country as a new gogovernment report comes ot that talks about mercury and arsenic and lead contamination around these plants. we will go to alabama a and a puerto rico to find out the latest. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: released yesterday in celebration of international women's day. this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman. nearly six month after her inquiry of battered puerto rico, the island is facing a massive recovery effort while the official death toll is just 64, it is believed more than 1000 people died the storm struck september 20. roughly 150,000 homes and businesses are still waiting for
electricity. we're going to talk about what is happening in puerto rico around one specific issue. but we're going to start in alabama. we're going to start with environmenental news and a batte between a a small, mostly poor,, majority b black community in alabama and the operators of a toxic landfill. for more than a decade, the residents of uniontown, alabama, which has a population of about 2400 people, have lived with the arrowhead landfill which is twice the size of new york's central park. arrowhead opened in 2007 despite -- beganan accepepting waste fr3 different states despite outcry from the community. in 2009, the landfill began accepting shipments of toxic coal ash, the residual byproduct of burning coal, from the 2008 spill in kingston, tennessee, believed to be the largest coal ash disaster in u.s. history. fofor two yeyears, neaearly 4 mn tons of coal ash wasas shipped y rail from a mostly white tennessee county to uniontown.
coal ash contains toxins including arsenic, mercury, and boron that can affect the nervous and reproductive systems and caususother healalth proble. according to the epa, people living within a mile of unlined coal ash storage ponds have a one in 50 risk of developing cancer. in 2013, several dozen uniontown resisidents filed a complaint ununder title vi of the civil righghts act. this week, the epa dismissed the claim, s saying there is insufficient evidence that authorities in alabama had breached the civil rights act. this comes as new government data says coal ash has contaminated ground water with arsenic and radium and other toxic chemicals near coal-fired power plants across the country. the data was releasased only one day afteter epa adadministrator scott pruitt said the epa would weaken federal regulations on coal ash disposal. meanwhile, president trump has nominated dow chemical lawyer peter wright to head up an environmental protection agency unit tasked with overseeing the disposal of hazardous waste and chemical spills at toxic superfrfund sites.
we have a lot to talk about what people. we're going to montgomery alabama, to speak witith ben ean , vice president of black belt citizens fighting for health and justice and a resident of uniontown, alabama. in washington, d.c., we're joined by mustafa santiago ali, former head of the e environmenl justice program at the environmental protection agency. he resigned from the epa one year ago in protest of the trump administration's proposal to scale back severely the size and work of the agency. we welcome you both to democracy now! you.aton, let's begin with talk about what is happening in your community in uniontown. >> the things that are happening in my community and uniontown -- in uniontown, it is ridiculous when it comes to coal ash, when it comes to our rights to live in a well protected or unprotected equally place the
for rejected equally place like everyone else. we have a number of problems from landfills, coal ash, sanitation, bad odors. it never stops. but this is some of the things, some of the things that are happening in uniontown. explain exactly what this plant is, how the community has been affected, how long you have bebeen fighting this, andnd what this rollback even further of environmental regulation will mean.. rollback, it is deep. group, will not stop fighting issues because we know we are right when it comes to our civil rights. happeningms that are
in uniontown are ridiculous. and to get no help and support from the agencies that actually are supposed to protect the community, they are not giving us that. if anything, they are only supporting themselves or doing things that makes them look good. it does not help the community at all. explain your reaction to the epa dismissing the civil rights claims brought by members of the community in uniontown? >> my feelings? it is ridiculous. for an agency that is supposed to protect the citizens and the out to say we did
not have a claim from insufficient of evidence. the alabama the prominent environmental management -- department of environmental management, to have an honest, non-discriminatory obligation. as we see it and as the way things have turned out, that did not happen. hurtful to be on the bottom, constantly trying to work our way up for just a fair, equal treatment. when you talk about environmental injustice, uniontown is number one. amy: i want to play a clip from a short documentary called "from the ash" from the southern environmental law center. it exploreres the danger from ad
effects of coal ash in alabama communities. this is dr. elizabeth dobbins, a biologist at samford university, explaining the health an environmtal impacts of coal ash. >> when you' burningoal, you lease poution in the air and yoalso havthe coal dust, the coal ashrom whatou have burned near ththeeople plant need a lot of water. that coal ash still has toxins leaking out i it. arsenic, radium. the avy y mels and low -- and veryowow levels can be very, very detrimental to human heal.. rates, affect growth brn n devepmenent. you u n affectctour lir and your kidneys because they have to proce thehem. it c c have negative effects on sosotimes even red blood cells.
amy: i want to go back to a clip from this documentary "from the ash" from the southern environmental law center. this is unioowown redentnt booker gipn.n. >> i've been back for 45 years. back her in uniontown. the landfills coming right through p place i've a pastor. few cows. i d have a fecacatfisin t the ndnd. it cap so much from the landfill, my fishasas d die if you're sitting up on the porch, you d''see e noing -- when i first bought th place, we did n have th. it was flagrground i am concerned about this coal ash and lead getting into the water. amy: i want to bring mustafa ali into the conversation.
the government itself j just put out a report talking about the levels of arsenic and lead and other poisons in coal ash outside coal plants around the country. can you put uniontown in the next general -- national context? >> uniontown is an example of sacrifice zones that unfortunately have been created. when you look at the most recent study, you see that even when the folks were doing the theseis that you have elevated levels of a number of toxic chemicals that are in the water -- and you know, everyone has a right to clean air and to clean water. so when you have these types of egregious situations that are going on, and as ben shared, when you come to the federal government -- in many instances as a last resort -- hoping that they will help in stand up and do the right thing,
unfortunately, we find that far too many of our communities of color and lower income communities are continuing to be disproportionally impacted and cannot find relief from these pollutions happening inside of their communities. in many instances, folks are living in a survival type of a situation. in the federal family, especially the empire medal protection agency, has a distinct responsibility for protecting public health and the environment. when they do not do that, where do people turn? amy: can you talk about the actual utility companies report? this is amazing. this is not an environmental groups report, this is the utility companies releasing information about what is outside these coal power plants. >> yeah. there's an interesting dynamic going on. one with utility companies to their own that analysis, they found the water is being
impacted, number of different chemicals in that space. the other dynamic going on that folks should be very aware of is the obama administration tried to put in place some additional protections and now we have the current in administration who is trying to roll those iraq, who is try to take $100 million away from the analysis s that could e in place of checking the water quality, checking to see if there is any leaching going on. and then giving the responsibility back to the states and also to the utilities themselves to make some decisions if they feel it is necessary to monitor and to do these analysis. and we know that. we need to have a uniform process across the country because unfortunately, what is happening in alabama, what is happening in uniontown, is also happening across the country. amy: i want to bring in another part of the country, puerto rico.
to talk about whwhat is happenig ththere. where residents have an organizing against coal ash disposal, even b before hurricae maria struck the island six month agago. the majojority of puerto rican residents were living with water that violated health standards set by u.s. law. since hurricane maria, residents had the situation has s only gotten worse as the among the sources of potential water contamination are mountains of coal generated by coal-fired power plant owned by prprivate company y called a aes. for years, residents have been demanding the company stop dumping toxic coal ash into their community, saying the waste is poisonous to their health and the environment. for more, we're also joined in washington, d.c., where we're joined by mekela panditharatne, a lawyer with the natural resources defense council . she just got back from the island. her recent piece in "the new york times" is headlined, "puerto rico needs more than bandages."
mekela panditharatne, welcome to democracy now! how does this story about coal ash before and after the hurricane fit into this national story? >> for example, the southern to aal town that is home five-story high pile of coal ash that was produced by this energy company aes. aes as ben producing coal ash that has been deposited in landfills across puerto rico, including in a community that has been really a locus in the environmental justice fight. coal ash does pose significant human health risks, in part because it produces what is known as fugitive dust. that is when parts of the coal ash stack will blow away during
a windy day and contaminate the surrounding environment. when coal ash gets wet, it can seep into the soil and into the groundwater and potentially cause drinking water contamination. affecthow did t the storm the coal ash contamination? the plant is still running? running.ant is still residents have expressed concern that after the hurricane, there may be contaminants leaching into the soil and into the groundwater in that area. amy: how is the government responding now? you have so many crises in hundredico, puerto rico 23 superfund sites including the island of vieques which the u.s. years.mbed for so many
in puerto're seeing rico at the moment is really the culmination of long-standing drinking water crisis that has an part been contributed to by these coal ash sites and by these superfund sites. even before maria, puerto rico had the worst quality drinking water. 99.5% of port-au-prince were served by drinking water in violation of the safe drinking water act. around 70% of puerto ricans were served by water sources that violated health base standards that had high levels of contaminants were not being treated in accordance with federal standards. so it's contaminants included chloroform bacteria in different byproducts, but also the volatile organic compounds you would expect to see from leaching from these kind of superfund sites and cocoal ash
deposits. amy: as you mentioned in puerto rico's southern town of peñuelas, residents have been fighting to stop a private company named applied energy systems, or aes, from dumping the coal ash in a landfill next to their community. last year before the hurricane spoke toemocracy now! one of the community leaders about ththe organizizing efforto ststop the toxoxic dumpingng. my name is y yanina. and e of the spokespeoeople against the ashes will stop when the trucks s drive-by, , they ae speedingng from the plan and the police create a line of police cars. a a parameter to protect the streets.s. in order to dedeposit the ashes, that t the mobilize a wholee operation. the whole momobilization off pulleys. because otherwise, they would not be able to enter. withthout the popolice, the trus would never be able to enter. amy: what are people demanding
now in puerto rico as we wrap up? >> the hurricane is really made a bad water situation in a bad contamination situation even worse. the local government has said the majority of its water infrastructure was damaged by the hurricane. as we have heard, residents are concerned about coal ash contamination leaching into the groundwater. so what we really want to see is significant investment into drinking water infrastructure and also into securing these coal ash contamination sites and preventing further leaching of these contaminants into peoplp's water sources. amy: ben eaton in montgomery, alabama, what are the people of uniontown now finally demanding? -- we aredemanding to put inthe landfill inventions ofr
this coal ash being dumped on us, better protection to keep it from leaking or seeping into our soil tos come into the kill off all of the crops and that area. we're just constantly fighting one thing to the next. our last attempt was in order to have any kind of justice, just to have someone in the office to actually protect the people and not for personal issue. and that is why i have decided to run for county commissioner in district 5 in uniontown. and in this district, guess who is in it? the landfill. so this is one of the ways that
we are planning on taking the not in another direction, but hopefully, in a more positive way. amy: i want to thank you all for being with us. then enough black belt citizens speaking to us about his town, uniontown, dealing with coal ash. mustafa ali is the former head of the environmental justice program at the environmental protection agency. just back from puerto rico, mekela panditharatne of the natural resources defense council. back, who gets included in obituaries in "the new yoyork times" and d who gets leleft out? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
as the world marked international women's day on wednesday, "the new york times" began a new project highlighting the lives of remarkable women who never had an obituary in the paper -- until now. the list might surprise you. it includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist ida b. wells, the writer and poet sylvia plath, qiu jin, who was known as china's joan of arc, the groundbreaking photographer diane arbus, the woman who helped engineer the brooklyn bridge, emily warren roebling, charlotte bronte, who wrote "jane eyre," henrietta lacks, whose cells led to a medical revolution, and ada lovelace, who is considered to be the world's first computer programmer. none of their obit to where is appeared in "the times." "the new york times" is calling the project "overlooked" and it is part of an effort to make up for the paper's 167-year history of focusing largely on men -- overwhelmingly on white men -- in the obituary pages. we are joined now by amisha padnani, digital editor of obituaries at the new york
times, who came up with the idea . news, it just seemed like women and people of color really die. >> this is feedback we got is the it is s something tht bothered me personally. i just joined obituaries in early 2017. the national debate on race was heating g up. the conversation about gender inequality was starting to take hold again. it really got me thinking as a woman of color and a as an editr at "the new york times," what can i do to advance the conversation? all of these people were coming out of the shadows to tell stories of injustices. it really resonated with me. i came across in my day-to-day research a woman who had been credited with bringing tennis to
the united statates from bermud. her name is mary. she started the first tennis court on staten island. these to live on staten island. it is a name -- place near and dear to my heart. i checked to see if we had done and a obituary on her and we had not. i typed that await the back of my mind. during my research i started coming across more and more names like this. as you noted, came across some really surprising was like diane arbus and sylvia plath. amy: let's talk about who they are. a photographer. of was don't for photography people on the outskirts of society. sideshow people, dwards. some wondered if she did it for attention in a way, but others really that the photos were remarkable and artistic. she had a lot of pain in her own lifetime.
there wasrprised when no obituary about her death. amy: and ida b wells? >> as you noted, she was a journalist who was one of the first to produce a newspaper by black person for black people. in her lifetime, she also was extremely famous. we even had a l little front-pae blurb about her marriage. we did not have anything about her death. amy: i want to go to my colleague juan gonzalez who wrote about ida b wells in his book "news for all the people." showlked about her on our when his book came out. >> ida b wells was one of the muckrakers. she was the editor of a paper in memphis and three of her friends were lynched by a mob.
she began a crusade against that lynching in her newspaper was burned down while she was out of town. she then went across the country exposing the epidemic of lynching in america, ofof african-americans, and became a really -- the first crusading journalistst on this issue. she is known, again, in history of the black press as one of the giants of the press. is, again, rarely mentioned or talked about in official history of t the press in ameri. but she was a key figure, not only was involved with the naacp and that with presidents over issues of racial discrimination, was a major figure in the late 19th and early 20 century. amy: but her obituary did not make it into "the times." what about sylvia plath? >> she's a famous poet who wrote
"the bell jar." was extremely famous. she committed suicide at a fairly young age. amy: in 1963. >> and we were surprised to learn there was nothing we had -- we had stories about her writing, but we didid not have n obituary covering her death. amy: american poet and novelist, short story writer and a born in boston. i want to go to a clip of sylvia plath reading from part of her very famous, painful poem "daddy." >> you do not do, you do not do any more, black shoe in which i have lived like a foot for thirty years, poor and white, barely daring to breathe or achoo. daddy, i have had to kill you. you died before i had time marble-heavy, a bag full of god, ghastly statue with one gray toe big as a frisco seal and a head in the freakish
atlantic where it pours bean green over blue in the waters off beautiful nauset. i used to pray to recover you. ach, du. amy: and i want to turn to that documentary going where i've never been for photography of diane arbus. in this clip, we hear her friend reading her musings on photography. didiane arbus also committed suicide. >> that is right. >> it would be very hard to say to someone, i want to come to your house and have you talk to me and tell me the story of your life. people are going to say you're crazy. plus, there when to keep mighty guarded. t the camera is a kind of license. and for a lot of people, they want to be paid that much attention, and that is a reasonable kind of attention to be paid. amy: that was reaeading the wors of diane arbus.
amy? was a star inn the 1920's and 1930's. she wrote a couple of books addressing issues of race pressures that middle-class black families would feel. she was accused of plagiarism later on her life she eventually was -- withdrew from the limelight. she died alone in her apartment and her body was found days later. she kind of died in obscurity. out explain what is coming on sunday, "the new york times goes with the from page is almost white, but it has got the photographs leaching through from the inside of these 15 women to the outside. >> this is the concept would came up with. we wanted it to have that feeling of these women are no longer overlook. they are now coming out of the wood works, coming out of the shadows and we're finally giving them their due. amy: what percentage of people
in the obituaries are still white men? obitsut four out of five are on white men. sorry, , i meant. i i don't haveve the figure for peoples of color. about eight or percent of our obituaries are about men. amy: how will this affect the obituaries going forward? >> i'm really hoping that it will raise awareness and continue the conversation. we recently hired a very first gender editor jessica bennett and whatever race related team. their goals are to diffuse the entire newsroom with a different way of thinking. they're not relegated to this one corner of the newspaper. they are everywhere. they are tasked with changing the tone of media andnd of "thee new york times" and bringing new perspective. i am hopeful that will help with our initiative, too. amy: amisha padnani, they could for coming.