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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 21, 2022 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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this is "nightline." ♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, island in peril. hurricane fiona wreaks havoc on puerto rico. >> the water, she says that the water was running just like this, but inside of her house. >> nearly five years to the day after devastation of maria, another blow. >> even though after maria the system was restored by the army corps, it was not permanently fixed. >> billions spent. the power grid still fragile. over 1 million now in the dark. grammy winner bad bunny is calling out those in charge in his new song "el aperon." present. justice served. the california woman who faked her own disappearance. sherri papini learns her fate. how long she will spend behind bars.
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plus the new goal. >> you came here for the cobalt? there's cobalt in these hills? >> yeah, that's right. >> mining the mineral that will help power our noble future. ginger zee with a company that's trying to leave no harm. and taylor swift. the big night of surprises from the pop star, revealing track 13, "mastermind," on her new upcoming album. >> mastermind. (cat 1) friskies world! (cat 2) look at that! (cat 1) it's made with real farm-raised chicken! (cat 2) i gotta get my paws on that! (cat 1) it's friskies farm favorites! (cat 2) the winning farm-ula. (woman vo) feed their fantasy. ♪ friskies ♪ (cat 1) look! friskies ocean favorites! yum! becoming a morning person starts the night before with new neuriva relax and sleep. it has l-theanine to help me relax from daily stress. plus, shoden ashwagandha for quality sleep. so i can wake up refreshed. neuriva: think bigger.
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♪ good evening. thank you for joining us. tonight, puerto rico is ravaged again. most of the island is without power, critical infrastructure gone, homes flooded. while hurricane fiona was not as powerful as hurricane maria five years ago, many are asking, how could this happen yet again? abc's victor oquendo is in puerto rico. >> reporter: fiona pounding turks and caicos with 115-mile-per-hour winds and up to eight feet of storm surge. after tearing through the dominican republic. its wake of destruction across puerto rico, an island reeling from yet another deadly blow. gabriela fled her home with two young children as floodwaters
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from filona rushed in. >> reporter: she lives in southern puerto rico, hit hard by the latest hurricane to ravage the island. she returned home this morning to survey the damage. minerva marquez was luckier. her home was flooded but spared. >> everything she owns, she's moved it up into these bags. she had to protect it from the floodwaters that came inside of her house. the 81-year-old has several medical conditions. she'll stay with her daughter until power is restored, happy to have family to lean on. millions of puerto ricans are struggling after the category 1 hurricane wreaked havoc on an already beleaguered island.
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as much as 30 inches of rain have fallen in some areas already. up to 4 inches more are expected tonight. officials say at least four people have died. that number is expected to rise. in utuado, the central mountainous region, raging floodwaters from the storm destroyed this temporary bridge, built after hurricane maria wiped out the previous one in 2017. this is what it looks like today. >> i just feel trapped because the other way is broken, too. so we have to go around. >> reporter: the american territory has been devastated by three powerful storms in five years, leaving its citizens desperate for essentials like food, electricity, and running water. the devastation from fiona laying bare the lingering infrastructure problems that have plagued the island for years. even after billions of dollars and vows to improve the fragile power grid after hurricane maria. according to fema,
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1.18 million people still don't currently have working electricity. that's 80% of the island. >> the situation is a disaster. enough is enough. the puerto rican energy bureau must push luma not only to pres for all create a distributed, more resilient grid. >> reporter: luma, which took over the national power grid last year, says they have restored power to 300,000 customers and expect more people to have electricity in the coming days. this crew from luma is working on damaged power lines in san juan. take a look at the bucket truck. they tell me this is happening across all puerto rico. omar morrero is puerto rico's secretary of state. >> right now, we're a hurricane path vector. every single time a tropical storm comes, a hurricane comes, it will hit the energy grid. it happens. even though after maria the system was restored by the army corps, it was not permanently fixed.
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>> reporter: in 2017, hurricane maria ravaged the island. a category 4 with 155-mile-per-hour winds battering the island. some residents were left without electricity for nearly a year. more than 3,000 people died. the deadliest hurricane in modern u.s. history. >> what's out there is total devastation, total annihilation. people literally gasping for air. >> reporter: after hurricane maria damaged 80% of the island's power grid, $3.2 billion spent trying to fix it. congress earmarked $10 billion to rebuild the system. five years later, the island was supposed to be more prepared for a storm like fiona, but it wasn't. you still have confidence in luma? >> i still have confidence in luma, the water utility, all agencies that are collaborating right now. because this is not only the government. when we're talking about disaster strikes and the response and the recovery, it's a unified command. it's a unity of purpose.
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>> reporter: puerto rico has suffered through power outages for years. blackouts hitting the island even when there are no storms. the problem so entrenched in daily life, puerto rican megastar bad burny released this 20-minute music video documentary about the failures of puerto rico's power grid. >> is there a realistic timeline for power to be restored? >> there's rain happening still, so we have to be safe. they haven't finalized their damage assessment. i think that we have to be calm, cognizant of the fact that this is a very complex disaster operation. >> reporter: the island is still very much a disaster zone. coast guard helicopters assessing the damage monday. the storm upending lives. in the hard-hit south, ruben ramos and his mother called 911 at midnight. she says the water was running just like this, but inside of her house. but firefighters couldn't reach them for seven hours. what was it like when the firefighters arrived?
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[ speaking spanish ] you say you were happy, you were relieved? >> yes, happy. >> hopefully we'll get the same support we have gotten so far from the biden/harris administration to make sure we can make great progress, to make sure the next hurricane, the next storm, we're in great shape. >> reporter: kelsey ryan is a community aid worker who splits time between puerto rico and new york. five years ago, she worked to send supplies to the island in the wake of maria's devastation. yet she says little has changed since 2017. >> this is not just repeating itself, it's repeating itself even worse. these people already had nothing. a lot of people had maria damage on their homes. >> reporter: puerto rico is uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes and uniquely unprepared to cope with storm damage. >> storms are normal in the caribbean. puerto rico seems to always take the brunt of the hits. so at this point, there should be some type of system or structure implemented. >> reporter: puerto ricans picking up the pieces and rebuilding once again.
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>> our thanks to victor. we turn to the bizarre case that gained national attention. sherri papini, the california mother who falsely claimed she had been abducted by two hispanic women, now facing justice. here's abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman. >> reporter: sherri papini, the california mom who pleaded guilty to faking her own kidnapping, sentenced to 18 months in prison. now in an interrogation video obtained by abc news, we're seeing the moment police confronted papini with her lies. husband keith by her side. >> reporter: november 2016, papini vanished. the search for her gaining international attention. three weeks later, thanksgiving morning, she was found on a highway, seen here, bound in chains. her breathless cries captured on this 911 call. >> please! >> sherri, i need you to listen
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to me. >> reporter: papini had claimed two hispanic women had kidnapped, beaten, branded her. injuries seen in images obtained by abc news, her husband tearfully describing her condition days after her return. >> her poor face. i got nauseated just looking at her. the bruises were intense. >> reporter: three years later, police would trace dna on papini to an ex-boyfriend, james reyes. police say papini planned it, tricking reyes into taking her to his home where she self-inflicted injuries, some with his help. but when confronted with the evidence, papini finally seems to break. >> reporter: for keith papini that police interrogation changed everything.
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>> you're telling me, okay, you can go home now. do you think i want her anywhere around my kids or around me at this point? >> our thanks to matt. up next, the future is now. with cobalt now as precious as gold, how some companies mining for it plan to not leave much of a trace. moderate to severe eczema still disrupts my skin. despite treatment it disrupts my skin with itch. it disrupts my skin with rash. but now, i can disrupt eczema with rinvoq. rinvoq is not a steroid, topical, or injection. it's one pill, once a day, that's effective without topical steroids. many taking rinvoq saw clear or almost-clear skin while some saw up to 100% clear skin. plus, they felt fast itch relief some as early as 2 days. that's rinvoq relief. rinvoq can lower your ability to fight infections, including tb. serious infections and blood clots, some fatal, cancers including
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the american lung association, and the california democratic party support prop 30. prevent fires. cut emissions. and cleaner air. yes on 30. hi, i'm debra. i'm from colorado. i've been married to my high school sweetheart for 35 years. i'm a mother of four-- always busy. i was starting to feel a little foggy. just didn't feel like things were as sharp as i knew they once were. i heard about prevagen and then i started taking it about two years now. started noticing things a little sharper, a little clearer. i feel like it's kept me on my game. i'm able to remember things. i'd say give it a try. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪ cobalt is already a big part of our lives, in everything from our phones to the batteries in electric vehicles. how do we get it out of the ground without destroying the
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environment? here's abc's chief meteorologist ginger zee. >> watch these drips here. >> reporter: in the depths of this narrow, winding tunnel sit a vital mineral that could one day help power our renewable future. >> it's red, tells you you're going deeper. >> reporter: outside that tunnel, the rolling rocky mountains of central idaho. flanked by miles and miles of beautiful scenery. at this very moment, this land is luxuriating in the lap of human interaction. save that tunnel. the mud swallowing our boots. >> get your workout in. >> reporter: here, there is one goal -- >> you came here for the cobalt? there's cobalt in these hills? >> yes, that's right. >> reporter: cobalt is an ancient material that is now
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breathing new life inside this mountain. a big reason that cobalt's in demand again? because its value is going up. we need it for batteries. in 2019, the u.s. produced roughly 500 tons of cobalt. but that wasn't from direct cobalt mining, it was just a byproduct of other mined material. but now, as the need for evs and battery storage soar, we need significantly more cobalt. cobalt has been mined in this area for a century. starting in the 1940s, to build jet engines during the cold war. >> stand clear of jet intakes and jet exhausts. all go aircraft. >> reporter: cobalt is now deemed critical by the u.s. government. it is one of 50 considered essential for the u.s. economy and national security. >> without these minerals, we simply cannot function. >> reporter: follow this winding creek up the mountain and you'll find the mine where it all began. blackbird. what am i looking at?
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>> so that is the former open pit. that's what we refer to as surface mining. >> reporter: from the early 1900s to the early '80s, blackbird was ground zero for cobalt mining in the united states. and surface mining, a practice involving an open pit to gather and mine cobalt. that was commonplace at the time and hardly regulated. >> there's a lot more regulation nowadays. '50s and '60s, there wasn't that much regulation. the federal government actually asked for the mine to happen and produce, produce, produce. and so corners were cut to be able to produce that cobalt. >> reporter: both above the surface and below, water flowed over these exposed metals and then carried the toxic material into nearby streams, poisoning the water, killing critical fish populations, and leaving the land in union. no one mines here anymore, haven't since 1982. and a decade after the mine shut down, eps proposed adding to site to a list of the
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most-contaminated places in the country. now blackbird has a new owner, canadian-based mega mining company glencore. the legacy of contamination from blackbird is known. >> we've had local populations of salmon go extinct from the impacts from mining. lt mining as well? >> from cobalt mining specifically. >> was blackbird the site? >> it was.te aerecades of work by indigenous groups and local restoration crews, the streams are just now recovering. and here's the wild part. just on the other side of that historic cobalt blunder sits what could be the future of domestic cobalt mining. with a company called jervois who believes they can quadruple production to two tons of cobalt each year. that is still only 10% of our country's demand. going into the side of a mine
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like this is a very different operation than an open pit? >> that's undisturbed forest just above us. undisturbed forest just below us. really, our only disturbance is this face and this portal and the surface facilities that we'll see on top. >> way less impactful on the surface? >> that's right. >> you're not blowing up a mountain? >> that's right. >> you're keeping a mountain, you're putting tunnels in? >> at the end, all of this gets built, we cap that portal, put the slope back. we can revegetate and it nobody will ever know it was here. >> reporter: this new jervois project will be the only mine in the united states exclusively focused on clmears. at first it's just dnthacarriesh thdie ne gs rily quiet. until -- >> what they're doing is like a lab? >> each hole penetrates our ore body and tells us something
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about how much cobalt and copper and the width, the thickness of that. >> what we're seeing, it's still worth it to go in and get it? >> absolutely. >> cobalt, especially now, has had a rise? >> it's had a rise. it's a volatile metal because of the way the market works, but it has had a rise. we believe it's going to continue to be in demand. >> reporter: the demand for electric cars and better batteries is hotter than ever, making minerals like cobalt highly in demand around the globe. more than two-thirds of the world supplies of cobalt come from the democratic republic of congo. china has been strategic in working with partners in the congo to secure rights to those mines. they currently own 15 of the 19 cobalt-producing mines in the drc. there have been a lot of reports of child forced labor in the drc as well. an urgent reminder that we need
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to do it right and do it here. this is a rare issue that is uniting both parties. relying on companies like jervois and oversight from state and federal governments to do it better this time around. >> we're using advanced tools like autonomous drones for surveying. so these kind of electric know logical advances make a real difference in how we're able to, in a socially responsible way, extract minerals from the earth. >> reporter: the jervois mine has permits from the state of idaho, the epa, and the forest service. they found the plans for treating wastewater and restoring the area when the mine closes will minimize but not completely eliminate the harm to the environment. there's so much beauty. part of that's beautiful too. in nature, we have to have that. when you look here and turn to the mine, what is the feeling you get? >> i think we have a responsibility to continue to do what's challenging. we don't do this because it's easy, we actually do it because it's incredibly hard. we want to see it done right.
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>> our thanks to ginger. you can watch ginger's entire special "lit: america's future" streaming on "abc news live" and hulu. when we come back, taylor swift honored tonight, and a big surprise for her fans. moderat ee plaque psoriasis... ...the burning, the itching. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. emerge tremfyant®. with tremfya®, most people saw 90% clearer skin at 16 weeks. the majority of people saw 90% clearer skin even at 5 years. tremfya® is the first medication of its kind also approved for adults with active psoriatic arthritis... ...and it's 6 doses a year after 2 starter doses. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. emerge tremfyant®. with tremfya®... ask your doctor
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about tremfya® today. (cat 1) friskies world! ask your doctor (cat 2) look at that! (cat 1) it's made with real farm-raised chicken! (cat 2) i gotta get my paws on that! (cat 1) it's friskies farm favorites! (cat 2) the winning farm-ula. (woman vo) feed their fantasy. ♪ friskies ♪ (cat 1) look! friskies ocean favorites! yum! becoming a morning person starts the night before with new neuriva relax and sleep. it has l-theanine to help me relax from daily stress. plus, shoden ashwagandha for quality sleep. so i can wake up refreshed. neuriva: think bigger. how white do you think your teeth really are? let's try the tissue test. ooof, still yellow. there's toothpaste white and there's crest 3d whitestrips white. whitestrips safely work below the enamel surface for whiter teeth in 3 days, guaranteed. a zillion times whiter! crest.
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then sav an fal, ack up to save even more at the pump. that's great! make the most of the stop you need to make with shell. wait! there's three of me? awesome! ♪ finally tonight, a big night for taylor swift, named songwriter artist of the decade by the national songwriters association international. on tiktok revealing the title of track 13, "mastermind," on her new upcoming album. >> "mastermind."
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>> congratulations, taylor swift. that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here, same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night. good night.


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