PBS NewsHour full episode August 14, 2019
AMNA NAWAZ, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR: Good evening.
I’m Amna Nawaz.
Judy Woodruff is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight:
The eye of the storm.
At a moment of relative calm in Hong Kong,
anxiety mounts over how Beijing will respond
to the pro-democracy protestors.
Then, warning signs.
The stock market plunges amid a rollercoaster
Where is the U.S. economy headed, and what
are the concerns over another recession?
And, troubled waters.
The deadly risk of a contaminated drinking
supply takes a toll on a neighborhood in the
shadow of a coal plant.
LAURA TENCH, BELMONT RESIDENT: My husband
died from cancer.
Mary Ann next door died from cancer.
You can’t tell me these people, just because
they’re past 50, it’s normal for them to get
cancer and die.
That’s too many people that have died on my
AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
AMNA NAWAZ: Stocks went into a free fall
on Wall Street today, after the bond market
stoked fears of a recession.
Germany also reported its economy shrank in
the second quarter, raising concerns about
a global slowdown.
The disappointing economic news caused the
Dow Jones Industrial Average to plummet 800
points to close at 25,479.
The Nasdaq fell 242 points and the S&P-500
slipped more than 85.
We will take a closer look at the market’s
volatility later in the program.
In Hong Kong, flights at the international
airport resumed a day after tense clashes
broke out between riot police and pro-democracy
Smaller, peaceful demonstrations continued
inside the terminal, with scores of signs
calling for Democratic reforms and the resignation
of the territory’s chief executive, Carrie
We’ll have more on the protests’ impact and
China’s response right after the news summary.
Back in this country, more revelations emerged
today about the two guards tasked with monitoring
accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s jail
cell the night he died by apparent suicide.
New reports allege the guards fell asleep
during their shift and later falsified records
to cover up their failure to check on him
every half hour, as required.
Falsifying log entries can constitute a federal
Hundreds of child sex abuse lawsuits were
filed in New York today as the state opened
a temporary window for adult victims to bring
their cases to court.
A new state law lifts the statute of limitations,
giving alleged victims one year, beginning
today, to sue, regardless of how long ago
the abuse occurred.
More than 1,000 people already filed lawsuits
against the Catholic Church, including one
who called the opportunity to seek justice
JAMES GREIN, SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM: It is
a moment of redemption for– not just for
myself but everybody who’s been abused by
so many of these people for so long.
It’s time now to stop it, it’s time right
This is the only chance we get.
And thank god for that chance.
AMNA NAWAZ: The Roman Catholic archdiocese
of New York issued a statement vowing to,
quote, carefully review the claims.
Dozens of lawsuits were also filed against
the Boy Scouts of America and other institutions,
including Rockefeller University and public
At least one woman who claimed she was sexually
abused by Jeffrey Epstein also filed suit.
Wildfires raged through a protected nature
preserve on Greece’s second-largest island
for a second day.
Hundreds of residents have evacuated four
villages and a monastery in Evia.
More than 250 firefighters are fighting the
flames by air and land in the dense pine forest.
Greece’s prime minister commended their work
today while inspecting the damage.
KRYIAKOS MISTOTAKIS, PRIME MINISTER, GREECE:
We know that wildfires will be with us, they
will be part of our– as they have always
been, but they’ve been more part of our daily
life as climate change is taking its toll
on Southern Europe.
And that is why it is imperative at the European
level to strengthen the rescEU mechanism,
in order to have more coordination at the
European level, to fight incidents like the
ones we had in Greece.
AMNA NAWAZ: A state of emergency was declared
on the island yesterday to free up much-needed
In Nepal, meanwhile, a government panel recommended
new restrictions for climbing Mount Everest
today in response to the deadliest climbing
season there in four years.
The rules mandate climbers have proper training
and high-altitude experience, and be in good
health before scaling the world’s highest
The government was criticized for allowing
too many people to climb the near 30,000-foot
mountain after 11 climbers died or went missing
Meanwhile, Facebook is under fire today over
new privacy concerns.
This time it’s paying outside contractors
to transcribe users’ audio clips on Facebook
The company reportedly had human transcribers
listen to users’ private voice recordings
to provide transcription quality control.
Facebook also said the audio clips were masked
to protect users’ identities, and it said
it stopped the practice a week ago.
And there are reports of violence out of Philadelphia
A police spokesman confirmed several police
officers were injured this evening in a North
The shooting occurred in the Nicetown section
of the city.
Temple University tweeted he has locked down
its health sciences center campus.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: will the
pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong face
a violent crackdown from the Chinese government?
Wall Street sees significant volatility as
fears mount over another recession.
A coal plant and a dying neighborhood, the
toxic threat of cancerous waste.
And much more.
AMNA NAWAZ: As the protests in Hong Kong
have become more intense over the past few
weeks, the rhetoric from Beijing has also
An editorial in a Chinese Communist Party
outlet today accused the protesters of wanting
to foment a revolution, something they said
will not be permitted.
AMNA NAWAZ: So with Chinese forces amassed
on the border, tough talk from Beijing, and
protesters not backing down, what now?
For that, we turn to Kenneth Lieberthal.
He was senior director for Asia on the National
Security Council staff during the Clinton
He’s now professor emeritus at the University
And Minxin Pei is professor of government
at Claremont McKenna College.
He writes extensively about China.
And welcome to you both.
Minxin, I want to start with you.
Is the fact the protesters have left the airport
at the very tense moment has somewhat died
down, does that give you any hope that maybe
things overall are dying down?
MINXIN PEI, CLAREMONT MCKENNA COLLEGE: Yes,
this is clearly a turning point.
I think the protesters have committed an unforced
error and they have recognized this.
So they should be — there should be a period
What is unknown is what the government will
If the government takes advantage of this
period and starts arresting more protesters
or even charging them, then we can see a return
of the protesters.
So things are still quite fluid.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, hundreds of protesters
have already been arrested.
Based on what you’ve heard from the government
so far, what do you think the Chinese government
MINXIN PEI: Well, first of all, the Hong
Kong government has arrested them.
So, it’s up to the Hong Kong government to
decide whether to charge those who have been
arrested or whether to prosecute those who
have been charged.
So this is up to the Hong Kong government.
What the Chinese government wants to do really
depends whether the Hong Kong government can
maintain control of the situation.
A few days ago, it certainly seemed that the
Hong Kong government was losing its grip.
Today, I’m a little bit more relieved.
AMNA NAWAZ: Kenneth Lieberthal, what do
you think about this?
How do you assess where we are right now?
KENNETH LIEBERTHAL, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY
COUNCIL STAFF: I agree that there is a moment
here that possibly could be seized to find
a way forward and get us out of a conundrum
that could otherwise produce a tragedy, and
— but I think that way forward will require
first an initiative by the Hong Kong government,
to my mind, likely including a willingness
by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step
Some outreach to the major constituencies
across Hong Kong to form some sort of commission
to review what’s happened and carry out necessary
investigations and give their opinion.
Essentially a long-term trust-building process
that can ease tensions and stop a situation
where radicals — you know, the most radical
elements among demonstrators are seizing the
initiative and, frankly, moving beyond what
I think Beijing can possibly tolerate.
AMNA NAWAZ: Kenneth Lieberthal, back to
But when you hear how the Chinese government
has been speaking so far, right?
They’re labeling this terrorism.
They’re calling the protesters criminals.
You see the troop movement and buildup, the
color revolution comparisons now.
Does it sound like they’re laying the groundwork
for some kind of intervention?
KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: They are laying the
groundwork for an intervention but I think
they really strongly prefer not to move in
They really want the Hong Kong government
to get on top of this.
To the extent the Hong Kong government fails
to find a way to do that, I think we will
see increasing use of force.
I don’t think anything like Tiananmen from
1989 is in the cards.
The world has changed since then and Hong
Kong is not a student movement in Beijing
30 years ago.
But we could see a lot happen that would do
tremendous damage to Hong Kong, to China,
to U.S.-China relations and to the region.
AMNA NAWAZ: Minxin Pei, if those steps that
Ken Lieberthal laid out don’t happen and
you see an escalating, a ratcheting up of
tensions on both sides — you were writing
about this, you said it seems to be careening
toward a devastating climax.
Are you worried there would be some kind of
MINXIN PEI: Well, it really depends on what
happens in the next 45 days, because China
is going to celebrate the 70th anniversary
of the founding of the People’s Republic.
It’s politically symbolically very important,
and the Chinese government would like to,
of course, prepare, to have an uneventful
But if, for example, this continuation of
this hard line position from Beijing, at least
rhetorically, and then the kinds of things
laid out fail to take place at the concessions
made by the Hong Kong government, we can see
a return of the protesters, very close to
the celebration of the 70th anniversary.
AMNA NAWAZ: But are they really going to
wait 45 days?
If the protests pick back and continue, would
they wait that long before taking action?
MINXIN PEI: Well, it’s a very difficult
decision for the Chinese government to make.
I think this is really their last resort.
They’re not going to act until Hong Kong is
Suppose there were another general strike
that paralyzes Hong Kong, that might force
Beijing’s hand, but we’re quite far away from
that point so far.
AMNA NAWAZ: Ken Lieberthal, some of the
language leads us to believe that Beijing
views this very much as an existential threat,
that if the protests pick back up and if they
continue, they will in some way be forced
Do you see it that way?
KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: Yes, I do, but the question
is, when they’re forced to act, that doesn’t
necessarily mean to have a large number of
troops move across the border from Shenzhen,
PLA in the streets, et cetera.
You could have a declaration by the Hong Kong
government of a state of emergency in Hong
Kong, some curtailment of civil liberties,
stronger actions by the Hong Kong police and
judiciary, escalate to potentially using the
Beijing PLA garrison in Hong Kong to be a
presence on the streets.
You know, there are a whole series of things
you can do shy of having tanks moving across
the border, and I think they will more likely
try to increase the pressure step by step,
but I very much agree with Minxin, this is
a very dangerous situation and, frankly, no
one knows exactly what the politics are in
Beijing among the leadership that inevitably
will play a role in how this is handled there.
AMNA NAWAZ: Minxin, very briefly if you
can, what is at stake here for the Chinese
How is Beijing assessing this?
MINXIN PEI: Well, it’s really — it’s
authority in Hong Kong because the Beijing
government has seen — is seeing this challenge
as not a challenge to Hong Kong government
but to the authority of the Chinese government.
AMNA NAWAZ: So we’ve seen what President
Trump has had to say so far.
Is there or should there be a role for the
U.S. in all of this?
MINXIN PEI: Yes, there should be a role,
but the role should be very delicate, quiet.
I think one thing President Trump can do is
to pick up the phone and have a quiet conversation
with President Xi Jinping and urge him not
AMNA NAWAZ: Ken Lieberthal, what do you
make of this?
How should the U.S. be acting, if at all,
at this moment?
KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: We should be making
suggestions about how to move forward in this
situation to maintain peace.
Clearly, if this goes off the rails, it will
be enormously damaging to U.S.-China relations,
among other things in the region.
AMNA NAWAZ: Minxin Pei and Kenneth Lieberthal,
thank you very much to you both.
MINXIN PEI: Thank you.
KENNETH LIEBERTHAL: Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: Today’s 800-point plunge on
Wall Street is just the most recent swerve
for a stock market that had very recently
been hitting record highs.
Jeffrey Brown reports that the high level
of volatility has investors large and small
on edge and looking for answers.
JEFFREY BROWN, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT:
President Trump’s trade and tariff wars, major
slowdowns in the economies of Germany and
China, the prospect of further actions by
the Federal Reserve, and more.
It may be August, but national and global
events are impacting markets and, maybe, the
Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent
for “The New York Times,” joins me now.
Nice to have you back.
NEIL IRWIN, SENIOR ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT,
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks, Jeff.
JEFFREY BROWN: Big drop in the market today.
You see several things going on.
Let’s start with the trade and tariffs.
How is that moving markets?
NEIL IRWIN: Sure.
So, we’ve seen a bit of a de-escalation of
the trade wars in the last couple of days
JEFFREY BROWN: Uh-huh.
NEIL IRWIN: — as the president has kind
of backed away from one round of tariffs that
were set to go into effect.
JEFFREY BROWN: Which should be good in a
NEIL IRWIN: It should be good, but remember,
that was only partially pulling something
that was only announced back two weeks ago.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.
NEIL IRWIN: What we’re seeing is that this
trade war, it’s something bigger than just
one little dial that you can twist.
It’s infecting the overall economic relationship
between the world’s two largest economies.
Businesses worldwide are having to adapt and
adjust, and they’re nervous about making investments
and really investing in the future given that
JEFFREY BROWN: Do we see actual damage already
or is this about fears looking ahead?
NEIL IRWIN: So, so far, in the U.S., economic
data, it’s pretty mild.
You see some evidence that the industrial
sector is slowing down.
Business investment has been weak in the last
But it’s not a catastrophe so far for the
So far, the U.S. economy seems to be holding
The question is what — what’s going to happen
in the future?
JEFFREY BROWN: And when the president pulled
back yesterday on the latest tariffs or at
least postponed them, was that perhaps as
seeing that it might — this time, it might
affect consumers, or why — why do you think
he did that?
NEIL IRWIN: Yes, I think this was — this
round of tariffs is going to affect consumers
10 percent on basically all Chinese imports,
including toys, including iPhones, including
things that people are buying in the Christmas
They didn’t want to do that.
The thing is you can’t really go back again.
Sometimes, this idea of constantly escalating
global economic warfare, once that gets in
place, it’s not so much the details of any
one tariff, it’s what’s going to happen to
the relationship overall, and what does that
mean for the future.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
So, there’s that on the one hand, but you’re
seeing something that’s part of — this
is part of something much bigger, deeper,
a slowing, a weakening, perhaps even signs
of a recession.
What points to that?
NEIL IRWIN: So, the biggest thing is what
happened today is called an inversion of the
So, the yield curve is interest rates on the
treasury bonds for different durations, different
And what’s happening now is you’re actually
seeing lower interest rates on longer term
bonds than on shorter term.
All that means is investors worldwide soon
to be pricing in an expecting slower growth,
weaker growth, lower inflation, more Federal
Reserve rate cuts.
That’s a pessimistic signal we’re getting
from global bond investors.
JEFFREY BROWN: And how — where are they
I mean, what specifically are they looking
at that’s making them feel so pessimistic?
NEIL IRWIN: It seems to me this global forces,
not just the trade wars that we’re already
talked about, but a sharp slowdown in the
European economy, geopolitical tensions.
You have tensions between China and Hong Kong.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.
NEIL IRWIN: You have a very complex situation
where the entire world economy and the world
political system seems to be in this very
So, it doesn’t take much to undermine growth.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now, the president clearly
seeing what’s going on, he put out another
tweet today, another blast at the Fed chairman.
He referred to him as clueless Jay Powell.
What is — what is that coming from?
Or what do you seeing there?
NEIL IRWIN: So, look, President Trump wants
to blame the Fed for everything bad that’s
happening in the world markets and the economy.
And it is true — look, the Fed raised interest
rates four times last year.
They’ve already taken back one of those.
They seem to believe that — you know, there’s
some evidence that they overdid it last year
and maybe raised rates too much, given where
the global economy is.
But you can’t — you know, you can’t hold
the Trump administration blameless.
They keep kind of throwing bombs in the different
elements of the global trading system in ways
that are disruptive.
And you talk to CEOs.
You look at corporate earnings reports.
There’s clear evidence that the Trump administration
has part of the responsibility.
JEFFREY BROWN: I mean, we’ve talked about
this before and over the years many times,
the uncertainty unsettles markets, right?
NEIL IRWIN: Yes, if you’re a CEO, you’re
trying to decide whether to invest, whether
to hire people, whether to build a factory.
You look around — you don’t know what the
world economy is going to look at in a year
because there’s this kind of chaos that
emanates from, not just Washington, from other
world capitals as well.
That’s a very difficult setting in which
to do business.
And what’s happening in markets is reflecting
that more and more.
JEFFREY BROWN: It is still true, though,
that some numbers look OK, or even good, right?
Job market is still OK.
Wages are up.
So, is everybody sort of parsing all these
NEIL IRWIN: Yes.
Look, so far, the U.S. economy has been the
calm in the storm.
The U.S. economy has been basically sound
even with all this — all this turmoil overseas.
The problem is what’s being — what we’re
seeing in markets this month seems to be suggesting
that could change.
And it doesn’t have to be a recession.
We can still avoid a recession, but the risk
of one is a lot higher than it was a month
JEFFREY BROWN: And just briefly before we
go, what is it about August?
Something about — everybody is supposed to
be relaxing, but a lot of things happen in
the economy and market — markets.
NEIL IRWIN: We keep seeing this — happened
in 2011, happened in 2007, happened in 1998.
You know, one explanation, it seems to be
that a bunch of traders are on vacation, so
there’s liquidity in markets.
You get wilder swings.
It may be just a coincidence but I think we’ve
seen this pattern before where August is the
month where global markets seem to melt down.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Neil Irwin of the “New York Times” — thank
you very much.
NEIL IRWIN: Thanks, Jeff.
AMNA NAWAZ: Stay with us.
Coming up on the “NewsHour”: The crisis is
already here, climate change and the warming
of America; reevaluating President Reagan
in light of newly released audio recordings;
and keeping alive Native American traditions
at an international folk art festival.
Coal ash is an especially bad and dangerous
byproduct of our dependence on coal and fossil
Now over the years, a number of communities
have dealt with coal ash spills that have
turned into emergencies with real public health
concerns over what’s seeped into the water.
In some places, utilities have been pushed
to adopt tougher standards.
But as Miles O’Brien reports, some residents
and activists say the power companies are
fighting changes that could help protect public
It’s part of our regular segment on the “Leading
Edge” of science and technology.
MILES O’BRIEN, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT:
This is the well water?
LAURA TENCH, BELMONT RESIDENT: This is the
MILES O’BRIEN: This is 2015.
At the kitchen table in her home of 41 years
near Charlotte, Laura Tench showed me the
official notice that rocked her world in 2015.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health
recommends that your well water not be used
for drinking and cooking.
What’s it like when you got a notice like
LAURA TENCH: Scary.
You don’t want to turn on the spigot.
MILES O’BRIEN: Her well water was more
like a witches’ brew– among the frightening
ingredients: cancer causers, hexavalent chromium,
ten times the state safety threshold, and
vanadium, almost 30 times the standard.
She and her family had no choice, forced to
rely solely on bottled water for nearly three
LAURA TENCH: I would not allow my children
to take a tub bath.
They had to take a quick shower, no luxury.
MILES O’BRIEN: They didn’t have to look
far to find the suspected source of the contamination:
the 62-year-old Allen Steam Station coal fired
It sits right next to the neighborhood, and
right in the middle of a raging national debate
over what to do about the toxic remnants left
behind after the coal is burned.
What’s leftover is ash, and in addition to
hexavalent chromium, it contains arsenic,
mercury, thallium, selenium, lead and more.
There are 16 million tons of coal ash here
Duke Energy spokesperson Erin Culbert gave
me a tour.
What are we seeing here?
What’s all around us?
ERIN CULBERT, DUKE ENERGY: Well, really
as far as the eye can see in all these directions,
we’re looking at coal ash.
MILES O’BRIEN: The ash Duke Energy creates
today is either used to make concrete and
wallboard or kept dry and stored in lined
But for decades, Duke and other utilities
mixed the ash with water and sent a steady
stream of the toxic mix, into deep unlined
pits, with no barrier between the ash and
In all, Duke owns 23 coal fired plants in
five states, 14 in North Carolina, where they
store about 153 million tons of coal ash,
101 million tons of it sitting in 23 unlined
ERIN CULBERT: This was certainly decades
before the U.S. EPA was in place and before
today’s regulations that would require those
So, most of the ash basins that we operate
were constructed at the time when liners weren’t
MILES O’BRIEN: Each year, U.S. utilities
generate 100 million tons of coal ash, one
of the largest industrial waste streams in
LAURA TENCH: It took me a long time to get
over the anger of it that Duke knew this and
they didn’t do anything they were supposed
They were supposed to be responsible.
MILES O’BRIEN: Given the unknowns about
cancer and the latency between exposure and
symptoms, it is all but impossible to conclusively
connect the toxins to a particular illness
in one individual.
But Laura Tench is surrounded by cancer.
She lost her husband Jack to the disease last
year, and many of her neighbors have similar
LAURA TENCH: They call the street in front
of me, “cancer street”.
John died first and he is gone.
My husband died from cancer.
Mary Ann next door died from cancer.
You can’t tell me that these people, just
because they’re past 50, it’s normal for them
get cancer and die.
And there’s too many people, they’re dying
on my little street.
They’re killing us.
ERIN CULBERT: Duke Energy responded with
the highest level of caution.
We offered to provide bottled water for those
folks while we were continuing to do more
MILES O’BRIEN: Coal ash and its consequences
burst into public consciousness in 2008, when
an earthen dam at a power plant in Kingston,
Tennessee, collapsed, sending more than a
billion gallons of ash-tainted water into
This caught Attorney Frank Holleman’s attention.
FRANK HOLLEMAN III, SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL
LAW CENTER: We’re using 21st century technology
to take pollutants out of the smoke stack,
and then we’re using 14th century technology
to dispose of the ash and the pollutants we
pull out of the smoke stack.
It’s the most dangerous, and the most primitive
way you could store this toxic industrial
MILES O’BRIEN: So, Holleman, the Southern
Environmental Law Center and local activists
began a decade long battle to end the reckless
They started suing utilities to compel them
to store the coal ash in a safer manner.
It was a David versus Goliath struggle.
Duke Energy, which towers over the Charlotte
skyline, is one of the largest electric utilities
in the U.S., a monopoly with more than $24
billion in revenue.
MILES O’BRIEN: And yet the plaintiffs
won, again and again, repeatedly forcing utilities
to dispose of coal ash in dry, lined landfills
in Virginia and South Carolina, as well as
FRANK HOLLEMAN: Ultimately, the Duke Energy
operating companies in the state pleaded guilty
18 times to Clean Water Act crimes and remained
on criminal probation today.
MILES O’BRIEN: In North Carolina, the
tide turned fully against unlined coal ash
pits in 2014.
That’s when a broken pipe at a duke energy
power plant caused a huge coal ash spill into
the Dan River.
It prompted the first state law regulating
coal ash storage later that year.
Virginia and Illinois followed, and so did
the Environmental Protection Agency.
But the Trump EPA has loosened the rules and
extended the deadlines.
Then in September 2018, high water generated
by Hurricane Florence caused a coal ash spill
at Sutton Lake near Wilmington, North Carolina.
In April, state regulators upped the ante,
telling Duke that all the remaining unlined
basins must be excavated and moved to dry
The state has asked you to do it?
ERIN CULBERT: They have.
MILES O’BRIEN: And you’re appealing?
ERIN CULBERT: We respectfully disagree with
We believe that a one-size-fits-all is the
MILES O’BRIEN: Duke agreed to excavate
22 unlined pits and move the ash to dry, lined
But the company is refusing to do the same
at nine others, including here at Allen.
Instead, the company wants to drain the water
and cover the ash with soil and a liner, capped
ERIN CULBERT: Some of the common denominators
around the sites that we propose capping would
involve sites that are not at risk of flooding
from the adjacent water body.
In all of these circumstances, the water flow
is going away from neighbors and would not
have the future opportunity to impact their
drinking water wells.
MILES O’BRIEN: On our tour of Allen, Culbert
showed how the company reached that conclusion.
To be sure, the coal ash is not migrating,
there are 200 ground water monitoring sites
around the plant, and routine testing on the
But tracing toxins from coal ash is a complex
task, as many of them, including hexavalent
chromium, occur naturally.
At Duke University, geochemist and coal ash
expert Avner Vengosh has developed a test
that measures not one chemical, but an array
of them, in samples to identify if it comes
from coal ash or not.
The whole mixture is akin to a chemical fingerprint.
AVNER VENGOSH, DUKE UNIVERSITY: It’s not
black and white.
We do see evidence for contamination in shallow
groundwater, but we have not seen the arrival
of those of contaminants into drinking water
It could come anytime.
It still may be happening in some places,
MILES O’BRIEN: Despite the ambiguity,
Vengosh says coal ash needs to be treated
as hazardous waste.
AVNER VENGOSH: We should treat it in the
way we actually manage hazardous waste in
We put it in a system that is isolated and
there are technical solutions to do so.
It’s only a matter of, first, awareness and
MILES O’BRIEN: The multi layered liners
and the excavation of the coal ash are expensive.
At the Allen site, Duke Energy estimates it
would take in excess of half a billion dollars
and two decades to do the job.
Capping in place is a lot cheaper and faster,
$185 million, and less than nine years.
ERIN CULBERT: If we have to excavate all
of these ash basins, that takes a lot of money,
billions of dollars away from cleaner investments
in renewables and other types of technologies.
FRANK HOLLEMAN: We know the solution.
It’s a shame that people were ever exposed
to these risks but it’s a shame if we don’t
stop these risks as soon as we reasonably
MILES O’BRIEN: Laura Tench and her neighbors
are now attached to the municipal water supply.
But that does not change their view of Duke
At this point, you want Duke to do the right
What is the right thing?
LAURA TENCH: They have to have these things
We have been told to take care of the environment
and we’re not doing it.
Everyone is responsible not only Duke but
we’re responsible to make sure that it’s being
taken care of.
We need to stop using coal.
It’s the bottom line.
MILES O’BRIEN: She is practicing what
she preaches — installing solar panels on
her roof not long after our visit.
She looks forward to using clean power, and
sending less money to Duke.
For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Miles O’Brien
in Belmont, North Carolina.
AMNA NAWAZ: Now, a second environmental
story on a much larger scale.
Scientists have warned frequently that we
need to stop the planet from warming an additional
two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
to avoid catastrophic problems.
A new analysis of temperature data by “The
Washington Post” finds many major areas across
the United States have reached or are already
nearing that two-degree mark.
It also found significant variations across
Chris Mooney from “The Washington Post” is
here to lay out how some parts of the U.S.
are being impacted more than others.
Chris, welcome to the “NewsHour”.
CHRIS MOONEY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank
Great to be here.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, it’s a sweeping analysis,
looking across decades and decades of data.
Tell me how you came to know what you know.
CHRIS MOONEY: We set out to just look at
some hints that I’d seen in scientific studies
and other places about some parts to have
the globe warming much faster than others,
and there being some impacts, strange or dramatic,
in these places.
And we said, can we, you know, can we look
at this more widely?
And, sure enough, we can.
NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
has a great complete data set for the United
States down to the county level back to 1895,
all the way through.
So, that’s what we looked ad at and sure enough
there are hot spots across the Lower 48 states.
Alaska is another story.
It’s actually warming even more, but across
the Lower 48, there are some dramatic areas.
AMNA NAWAZ: OK.
Before we get to Alaska, let’s look at that
But what did you find across the Lower 48?
Are there patterns?
CHRIS MOONEY: Yes.
So, one to have the most striking patterns
is the northern border of the country, from
roughly Montana, all the way to Maine is,
you know, repeatedly high levels of warming
compared to what’s below it.
And if you were to look at Canada, you would
see that continuing.
So, it’s something about northern land areas
are warming faster.
We think this has something to do, probably,
with the winter season and with snow melting
faster than bare grounds exposed, and absorbing
more solar radiation.
This is a process that scientists think will
play out on climate change.
And given what we’re seeing this pattern having
to do with the north, we suspect that’s what
There are some other hot spots as well but
that’s one of the biggest patterns.
AMNA NAWAZ: What is it that you’re actually
seeing on the ground?
I mean, temperature data is one thing, but
what does that 1 or 2 degrees Celsius change
mean on the ground?
CHRIS MOONEY: We look at New Jersey the
most closely, because New Jersey is about
1.9 Celsius and so, Rhode Island is actually
It’s the fastest warming in Lower 48, New
We went to a lake in New Jersey, Lake Hopatcong,
and it’s really kind of a great way to tell
the story because, 100 years ago, this was
sort of this winter wonderland where people
would — they would ice skate, they would
ice fish, they had giant winter carnivals
and skaters and ice boats, ice sailing.
Plus, it was an ice factory and they chopped
up the ice, there was so much of it, to ship
it to New York because there were no refrigerators,
so they would use the ice to keep things cold
for large numbers of people.
And now, the lake is — it’s very hard to
even hold ice fishing contests anymore.
The lake is overgrowing with weeds that are
being sort of helped along by the warmer temperatures
and it just had a dangerous algae bloom which
also occurs more frequently when temperature
So, it’s a giant change that’s happened.
AMNA NAWAZ: It’s a giant change you’re
seeing that’s clear when you look at numbers,
right, over 100-plus years.
CHRIS MOONEY: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: But what about people on the
Have they been noticing a change, too?
CHRIS MOONEY: Oh, absolutely.
And so, you just go to Lake Hopatcong, and
you say, what happened?
They say, we don’t have those winters anymore.
You know, we cannot do the pastimes, the ice
That’s just not — it’s not something
that’s very easy to do.
Some years, they still can do it because weather
varies a great deal.
AMNA NAWAZ: Uh-huh.
CHRIS MOONEY: But across New Jersey, winters
change the fastest and you see all the effects
related to winter.
So, one of the things that happens is, you
know, you get different growths of weeds in
the lake, you get pests that used to die because
the winter was too cold for them.
They now come up and visit new places.
And, so, you have the pine barrens of New
Jersey is infested southern pine beetle, which
is destroying pine trees.
It’s not clear how they will stop that from
And so, that’s very destructive.
You have ticks moving — this is a phenomenon
that’s occurring throughout the Northeast.
And, you know, a lot of agriculture pests
are on the move.
So, a lot of big changes.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, across all of these hot
spots, you mentioned — Alaska stands out
It’s been warming faster than any other part?
CHRIS MOONEY: Sure.
AMNA NAWAZ: What are you seeing there?
CHRIS MOONEY: It’s the Arctic, right?
The Arctic is in a class of its own.
What we — what people are surprised to learn
is it’s actually in the Lower 48.
We sort of knew the Arctic of Alaska is 2.2
Celsius, it’s an average.
It’s what we found based on interviewing
experts about Alaska.
But there’s parts of Alaska like the North
Slope that are way, way above that.
AMNA NAWAZ: You also note in your article
that global warming does not apply itself
evenly, right, not across the globe.
Certainly not in the U.S.
So, are there parts of America that basically
don’t feel this at all?
CHRIS MOONEY: Yes, the South stands out
as not having warmed in the 120-year period
at all and even in Mississippi and Alabama,
some slight cooling.
It’s really surprising.
It’s a complicated story that has to do
with air pollution in the middle of the century
and maybe some natural variability of the
And then they are actually warming the last
50 years but that gets outweighed by the prior
part of the period.
So, they end up with nothing.
So, it’s a variable picture.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, just within this one country,
right, there’s two very different stories
when it comes to how people are experiencing
climate change, global warming.
How do you think that affects how we have
a national conversation about this?
CHRIS MOONEY: I mean, I — it is — it is
difficult because it will affect people’s
perceptions in a lot of different ways.
On the other hand, what we found is that,
you know, because there are 71 counties that
are above 2C and some are very populated,
we’ve got 10 percent of the population in
So, it’s a national story.
The impacts are going to be playing out in
a lot of regions.
We’ve got Rocky Mountain Region.
We’ve got Southern California.
We’ve got this whole northern stretch.
It affects a lot of different regions, just
So I think that it is the United States as
a whole that needs to be paying attention
to it, not just some parts.
AMNA NAWAZ: But a fascinating report.
It’s stunning in how sweeping it is.
It’s available at “The Washington Post”
Chris Mooney, thank you so much for being
CHRIS MOONEY: Great to be with you.
AMNA NAWAZ: A recently unearthed audio recording
of Ronald Reagan from 1971 has raised questions
about the former president’s views on race.
Lisa Desjardins takes a closer look now at
the comments made nearly fifty years ago,
and Reagan’s complicated legacy.
LISA DESJARDINS, PBS NEWSHOUR POLITICS CORRESPONDENT:
In the early 1970s, Ronald Reagan was governor
of California, and already a national name
in Republican politics.
On the morning of October 26, 1971, Reagan
called up President Nixon at the White House.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Hello?
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: Mr. President?
Hope I didn’t get you out of bed.
RICHARD NIXON: No, I’m —
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LISA DESJARDINS: Their 12-minute chat was
captured on President Nixon’s White House
tapes, and was released in full by the National
Archives just last month.
It includes Governor Reagan using a racist
slur to describe a group of African diplomats
at the United Nations.
RONALD REAGAN: Last night, I tell you, to
watch that thing on television, as I did.
RICHARD NIXON: Yes.
RONALD REAGAN: To see those monkeys from
those African countries — damn them, they’re
still uncomfortable wearing shoes.
LISA DESJARDINS: Reagan was reacting to
this U.N. session the day before, where the
U.S. lost major votes over the rise of China,
and whether Communist China should be seated
as the official Chinese delegation.
Beijing won with a coalition of nations that
included many developing nations.
The result led some, including the Tanzanian
delegation, to burst into celebration.
For historians, the audio of Reagan’s reaction
to that moment is a new data point.
Brands is a Reagan biographer, and professor
at the University of Texas at Austin.
Reagan’s 1971 words to Nixon surprised him.
BRANDS, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN:
I read his diaries, I read his letters, I
hadn’t heard him say anything like this.
So I was frankly curious, and a bit puzzled.
Reagan wrote two memoirs and in both of them,
he made a point of the fact that his father
Jack Reagan had taught him and Reagan’s brother
to not engage in discrimination because Jack
the father was Irish– an Irish Catholic–
and he himself had suffered discrimination.
So he made a point to his sons that this is
not the way you should behave.
LISA DESJARDINS: When Reagan launched his
1966 bid to become California governor, his
30-minute ad showed two sides of thinking.
One was get tough on crime, at one point comparing
violent areas to jungles.
RONALD REAGAN: The only thing that’s gone
up more than spending is crime.
Our city streets are jungle paths after dark.
LISA DESJARDINS: The other was soaring rhetoric
RONALD REAGAN: Those few who chose to walk
with prejudice, will walk alone.
Never again should any parent know the heartbreak
of explaining to a child that he is to be
denied some of the good our country has to
offer, because in some way he’s different.
LISA DESJARDINS: Brands has his own theory
about the new audio, that Reagan’s slur was
an attempt to sway President Nixon, who is
now known to have made racist comments, privately.
BRANDS: At least part of it, Reagan is using,
I think, this language operationally– to
try to move Nixon in the direction he wants
Nixon to go.
LISA DESJARDINS: But other historians disagree
deeply about this new audio.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY:
So, my reaction was a little bit of surprise
but not shock.
LISA DESJARDINS: Historian and Harvard associate
professor Leah Wright Rigueur is thinking
of the long debate over Reagan’s view of black
Under Reagan, African-Americans saw poverty
and incarceration rise.
Historians have debated why.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR: Now, we actually have
a broader context about Ronald Reagan — one
wherein he is using racial slurs and that
he is, you know, he is talking about black
people, and in this case Africans, in a pejorative
and negative and regressive sense.
So, now, what we have to do is reconcile that
prejudice with Ronald Reagan’s actual policies
and programs and the things that he did on
LISA DESJARDINS: Reagan’s record offers
much to examine.
He stressed states’ rights during his 1980
presidential campaign, a phrase associated
with small-government philosophy but also
RONALD REAGAN: I’m trying to prevent discrimination
with this idea, as I say, of eliminating quotas.
LISA DESJARDINS: He fought affirmative action,
decried those with welfare benefits as gaming
the system, and increased prison rates for
All, he argued, as part of slimmer, safer
government that encouraged people to stand
on their own feet.
Reagan did extend the Voting Rights Act for
25 years, though he initially tried to soften
some of the law’s protections.
And, while he was reluctant to establish a
national holiday to celebrate Martin Luther
King, Reagan did ultimately sign legislation
to do so.
RONALD REAGAN: Let us not only recall Dr.
King, but rededicate ourselves to the commandments
he believed in and sought to live every day.
LISA DESJARDINS: For some, like H.W.
Brands, Reagan disdained discrimination but
he focused on other policies and problems.
BRANDS: Reagan never pretended to be a hero
of civil rights.
He really did believe that laws that were
made at the state level were generally better
than laws that were made at the national level.
Reagan was a small government conservative.
LISA DESJARDINS: But, in Leah Wright Rigueur’s
assessment, it’s more about sizing up his
policies against his messaging.
RONALD REAGAN: It’s morning again in America.
LISA DESJARDINS: Like Reagan’s iconic 1984
“Morning in America” campaign ad, which shows
many different faces of Americans.
NARRATOR: Under the leadership of President
Reagan, our country is prouder, and stronger,
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR: Over the course of
his career, Reagan and his strategists and
his advisers figure out that one of the most
politically powerful and insulating things
that they can do is actually use the language
and symbolism of inclusivity and tolerance
even as they are having different kind of
conversations with audiences like White Southerners
around states’ rights that have traditionally
held racialize and discriminatory meaning
LISA DESJARDINS: Both historians note that
other modern presidents also have complicated
histories on this subject.
Consider President Lyndon Johnson.
BRANDS: Lyndon Johnson grew up in Texas,
which is a state of the confederacy.
And Lyndon Johnson had to deal with all sorts
of rampant racists in Texas.
And when he was speaking to them, he spoke
a language that they could understand, a language
that e wouldn’t speak in public a language
they wouldn’t speak in other contexts.
But he was also one who is very effective
at getting people to go along with him.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR: We have somebody like
Lyndon Johnson on tape saying all kinds of
awful things about race, saying racist things,
saying discriminatory things, saying sexist
We also know that during his presidency, he
is instrumental in really forcing Congress
to pass the most comprehensive civil rights
bill the nation had ever seen.
And so, all of those things can be true and
coexist at the same time.
LISA DESJARDINS: The renewed debate over
President Reagan and race comes as he has
become a touchstone for leaders in both parties.
Last month, Democratic House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi referred to some of Reagan’s pro-immigrant
words to rebuke President Trump.
NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He is denigrating all
the newcomers that come to our country, in
complete opposition to the beautiful words
of Ronald Reagan in the last speech that he
made to the country as president of the United
RONALD REAGAN: The doors were open to anyone
with the will and the heart to get here.
LISA DESJARDINS: Reagan, the great communicator,
knew the power of words.
RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev —
LISA DESJARDINS: Now, there is even more
debate over how he used them.
For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Lisa Desjardins.
RONALD REAGAN: So we may be, always, free.
AMNA NAWAZ: Every summer, master artists
from around the world gather in Santa Fe,
The International Folk Art Market showcases
art that preserves cultural traditions and
brings economic opportunities to poor communities
Special correspondent Kathleen McCleery has
our story, part of “Canvas,” our ongoing arts
and culture series.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY, PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:
In her rural New Mexico studio, Native American
jewelry maker Mary Louise Tafoya slices the
raw materials that will form intricate mosaic
inlays for necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA, JEWELRY MAKER, KEWA PUEBLO:
I’m wearing a piece right now, you see.
A lot of people think they’re painted.
And I tell them no, they’re not painted.
They’re inlaid with natural stones and shells.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Her husband, Lorenzo,
helps, sanding, grinding, and polishing.
Tafoya’s work is exhibited in museum shops
and galleries throughout the southwest and
Prices start at $35 for a small pair of earrings,
and can go up to $4,000 for a large necklace.
Still, being invited to the world’s largest
folk art market came as a surprise.
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA: I was amazed.
I was excited.
I said, me, little me.
How did I ever get up there?
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The couple spent months
creating more than a hundred items to bring
to Santa Fe.
Each July, those chosen flock to New Mexico’s
This year, more than 170 from 52 countries.
They were welcomed in a parade around the
city’s historic plaza at the start of a three-day
celebration of global art and culture.
Stuart Ashman is the market’s CEO.
STUART ASHMAN, CEO, INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART
MARKET: Please say salaam to Ethiopia.
This is a recognition on the world stage,
if you will.
You know, this is the major leagues of folk
And there are hundreds if not thousands of
Native American jewelers, and she got picked.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The Tafoyas live on the
Kewa Pueblo, also known by its Spanish name,
This rural community of about 3000 traces
its history to ancient people who inhabited
this part of northern New Mexico more than
800 years ago.
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA: I grew up with it.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Tafoya’s tribe has long
been known for its jewelry.
Her designs are inspired by her ancestors.
Preserving cultural heritage is one reason
artists are chosen to attend, says Ashman.
STUART ASHMAN: Everything has to be handmade.
Must be rooted in tradition, whether it’s
the tradition as it was done 1,000 years ago
or whether that tradition has evolved.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Quality and authenticity
A rigorous selection process results in only
the best being selected.
KAREN GIBBS, CONSULTANT INTERNATIONAL FOLK
ART MARKET: Everybody who is here in Santa
Fe for the first time, will you please stand
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Newcomers like Tafoya
attend training sessions before the market
begins, and get tips on how to tell their
story to potential buyers, from high end collectors
to shoppers looking for the perfect gift.
Consultant Karen Gibbs leads the effort.
KAREN GIBBS: Customers are not here just
to buy a product.
They want to buy a product that has a story
to it, that has a why behind it.
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA: It’s just what comes
up from here.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Tafoya exchanged stories
with a gold filigree jewelry maker from Sardinia
and a bead worker from the Maasai tribe in
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA: I’m learning a lot,
this is something different for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have five people
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: When the gates open,
crowds flood in.
Over the three-day weekend, about 25,000 people
visit this Mecca for handmade art.
This is the 16th anniversary of the market,
and the first to include U.S. artists, among
them, Mary Tafoya.
STUART ASHMAN: It’s an international folk
How could you exclude the United States when
there are so many incredible artists here?
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: But you did for 15 years.
STUART ASHMAN: The real reason is that U.S.-born
artists have opportunities that people from
these other countries don’t have.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: A stroll through the
maze of booths feels like a trip around the
world, from paintings done with sticks by
aborigines in Central Australia, to magic
carpets woven in Uzbekistan’s ancient city
This year’s honorary chair is Ndaba Mandela,
activist and 37-year-old grandson of the South
NDABA MANDELA, SOUTH AFRICAN ACTIVIST: It’s
not just about New Mexico, right?
It’s about the world.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: At a South Africa booth,
Mandela checked out retro eyewear inspired
by traditional Zulu beadwork.
NDABA MANDELA: What I’m seeing here is
a celebration of the diversity of humanity.
When we come together, we’ll be able to eliminate
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The artists take home
on average 85 percent of their sales.
Unlike many festivals held around the country
on summer and fall weekends, this one promotes
social change, and 90 percent of the artists
filter proceeds back home to provide jobs,
empower women and revive traditional crafts.
Market officials say the sales have touched
the lives of more than a million people worldwide.
STUART ASHMAN: Some of these people make
more than a year’s salary in a weekend.
And so obviously, if you have a great deal
of prosperity, you come back and you share
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: The Tafoyas see the market
as a way to give back to their community,
too, using their success to motivate up and
coming pueblo artists.
LORENZO TAFOYA: I think that’s kind of what
we want those artists to see.
Go the extra mile, see what you can do on
MARY LOUISE TAFOYA: You know, show your
talent and don’t be afraid of it.
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Market goers spend more
than $3 million over the three days.
But for Ashman, a purchase here is more than
a financial transaction.
STUART ASHMAN: We say it’s not a market,
it’s a miracle.
Art absolutely connects people and transcends
all of those issues that divide people.
That’s really the ultimate goal.
You can say this is what world peace looks
KATHLEEN MCCLEERY: Or perhaps, it’s a small
For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Kathleen McCleery
in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
AMNA NAWAZ: And join us tomorrow online
for a livestream of the annual forum of the
Harvard University Hutchins Center for African-American
This year’s theme, “Divided we stand: Can
That starts at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
And you can find a link to the livestream
on our website, that’s PBS.org/NewsHour.
And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight.
I’m Amna Nawaz.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour”, thank
you and we’ll see you soon.