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President Biden Speaks On The Topic Of Inflation; Gas Prices Hit A Record High; A Visit To A Bitcoin Mining Farm. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: The value of bitcoin, the levels of two large lakes and a new Facebook store are all dropping. Unfortunately, gas prices

aren`t, and that`s where we start today`s show. I`m Carl Azuz.

On Tuesday, the AAA automobile association reported that America`s gas prices had reached their highest level ever at $4.37 per gallon on average.

They`ve risen 17 cents in the past week. Gas prices steadily climbed throughout last year, they`ve only gotten worse since Russia invaded

Ukraine in February.

And while U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly blamed Russia for higher fuel and energy prices, the American leader`s critics say he hasn`t done

enough to bring them down.

The cost of gas is a major driver of inflation. Since late 2021, prices have been rising at their highest rate in decades. The president says he

doesn`t know whether inflation will calm down later this year or get worse next year. He says different economists have different predictions on that,

but he says his administration has to do all it can to bring down inflation.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the families all across America are hurting because of inflation. I want every American to know

that I`m taking inflation very seriously and it`s my top for domestic priority.


AZUZ: The White House has blamed Republicans for using inflation as a, quote, political talking point in advance of this year`s midterm elections,

but not taking action to reduce costs for Americans. But Democrats controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress, and a recent CNN

poll conducted by SSRS found that more than two-thirds of Americans don`t think the Democratic Party`s economic visions match up with their own.

Analysts say the president didn`t offer any new proposals for curbing inflation but the Biden administration is considering lifting tariffs or

taxes on certain goods imported from China.

Up next, when we`ve talked about bitcoin, the world`s most famous cryptocurrency, one thing we`ve pointed out is that it`s volatile. Up one

day, down the next. Digital currencies aren`t controlled by a bank or government and that`s what their fans like about them. They`d rather that

crypto`s value be determined by a network of computers instead of a country.

But the downside is cryptocurrencies aren`t stable. High inflation drives down their value and when technology stocks drop, crypto can, too. Late

last year, the value of one bitcoin was close to $70,000. At one point, yesterday it was below $32,000.

So, mining bitcoin, which takes a lot of computers and electricity, can be considered risky.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cool, damp, bucolic, this place is perfect for apples and perfect for bitcoin mining. Plenty of

land for mining farms, servers don`t need as much AC to cool them. All that water means cheap green hydroelectricity. And --

MALACHI SALCIDO, CEO, SALCIDO ENTERPRISES: Electricity is about 65 percent of our total costs.

WATT: Eight thousand servers right here, all these about 15 grand each.

WATT: You`re pouring a lot of money into this.

SALCIDO: That`s correct.

WATT: A quarter of all the electricity generated here in Douglas County now powers Bitcoin mining, many locals still trying to wrap their heads

around it.

MAYOR JERRILEA CRAWFORD, EAST WENATCHEE, WA: We understand the process of growing fruit and you see it, it progress. You don`t see the Bitcoin.

WATT: Here is how Bitcoin mining works, hundreds of Bitcoin transaction, Biff pays Candy, Morag pays Hamish, Suraj pays Zuma are bundled into a

block, computers like these all over the world race to solve a complex math problem.

The winner gets to upload that block to the Blockchain, a vast ledger, now more than 700,000 blocks long. A new block is uploaded every 10 minutes.

Mine a block and you earn 6.25 Bitcoin.

SALCIDO: And this location is one of seven locations that we built and operate in.

WATT: China was the global Bitcoin mining capital, but last year the Communist Party cracked down.

DANIEL ROBERTS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DECRYPT: And a lot of it migrated to the U.S. and it happened really quickly. As of right now, the estimates are

that 35 percent of the world`s Bitcoin mining is now in the U.S.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which of these bodies of water is the most shallow?

Sea of Azov, Lake Erie, Ohio River, or Colorado River?

With an average depth of 20 feet, the Colorado River is the shallowest body of water on this list.


AZUZ: Most of its water starts out as snow, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. As it melts in the spring, it eventually flows

into the Colorado River and then runs southwest through Arizona and Nevada.

In all, seven Western states and part of Mexico benefit from the Colorado River, it irrigates more than 5 million acres of farmland. Parts of it

flooded in 2018, but today, whether you`re talking about Lake Mead on the border of Arizona and Nevada, or Lake Powell on the border of Arizona and

Utah, you`re talking about part of the American southwest fed by the Colorado River where an ongoing drought is changing some landscapes and

threatening to change some livelihoods.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a couple weeks ago, this part of Lake Powell was pretty enough to put in a brochure. But today,

there is no water, only sand.

Can`t paddle around Lone Rock anymore.

If you haven`t been out west in a while, haven`t seen the state of the Colorado River and its reservoirs, you would be shocked.

This is what Powell looked like just last spring, when you could still float around Lone Rock. But the satellite shows it losing island status as

the lake level fell over 40 feet.

And the lake used to go -- used to go half a mile around the corner and now it starts way back here. I cannot believe this.

While hurricanes, floods and wildfires can upend your life in a moment, droughts are slow motion disasters, and this one is now in its 23rd year.

With the region`s population booming and another winter without enough snow, there are no signs of relief.

But when you`re houseboating on what`s left of Lake Powell, it`s still gorgeous. It`s still easy to forget just since the mid-`80s, the water

levels have dropped 177 feet. That`s like ten of these yachts stacked on top of each other.

KENNETH RUNNELS, CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR, ANTELOPE POINT MARINA: This is the temporary dock, gets us access to the marina.

WEIR: So the tourism industry has no choice but to adapt, making ramps longer as the lake gets lower.

RUNNELS: This was connected straight up there. So --

WEIR: At one point, you would have been high enough that would have been a straight angle.


WEIR: This is not a decade or two. This is a year or two since it`s dropped.

RUNNELS: Yeah, this is within two or three years.

MAX LAPEKAS, CO-OWNER, LAKE POWELL PADDLEBOARD AND KAYAK: If it continues to go down another 10, 15 feet, we might have to shutdown.

WEIR: For Max Lapekas, the changing canyons means more people eager to explore them in his rental kayaks and paddle boards, but not enough safe

places to put them in. And he knows the big picture, 40 million people and their animals and crops in seven states and Mexico depend on Colorado River

water not to re-create but to live.

LAPEKAS: Manmade climate change I do believe is a thing to a certain extent, but I do believe the Earth goes through cycles, and this could just

be another cycle. But I don`t see any good evidence of it getting any better anytime soon.

WEIR: In a first of its time Gallup poll, one in three Americans say they`ve been personally affected by weather in the past two years. And for

those who have, regardless of party, they are much more likely to say the climate crisis demands action.

But only 3 percent say they`ve experienced drought. This may be because for most, tap water keeps flowing, and here house boaters keep coming.

What do you say to someone who sees this as proof, alarming proof of sort of a manmade climate crisis?

RUNNELS: Some of it is manmade, there`s no doubt about it. You`ve got more users using the water out of the Colorado River. You`ve got more -- you`ve

got more of everything than you had 50 years ago. It`s that simple.

WEIR: Would you label your business a victim of drought?

RUNNELS: We`ve had to change the way obviously the way we do a lot of things. At this point, I would not say we`re a victim. I would say we`re an


WEIR: And from now on it seems, anyone who wants to live in the American southwest will have to be an adapter.

Scientists tell us this is the worst drought in 1,200 years and for the first time, they`re restricting some of the allocation rights of the

Colorado River water. Some farmers in Arizona are among the first having to cut back. It`ll change the way agriculture operates going forward, city

development going forward, because if this drought, heaven forbid, continues and the population keeps booming, adapting means learning to live

with a lot less water.



AZUZ: Even though Amazon and Microsoft have closed many of their retail stores, Facebook parent company Meta has opened its first. What could you

buy there? Virtual reality headsets and video calling devices for when you can`t or don`t want to physically share the same space with others. It`s

also a place for people to try out new applications and video games. It could be an extensive immersive experience assuming you`re not prone to

motion sickness.

But whether it makes people more Metaversed in technology, putting them on an Oculus quest for Meta world peace or if it just becomes a PlayStation

that revives daydream views when they`re linked up, the reality is it`s still virtual and the neo focus they envision through the HoloLens is still

a mirage.

Somersworth Middle School, we see you watching from Somersworth, New Hampshire. Thank you for doing that.

People over age 13 can request a mention by subscribing and commenting on our YouTube channel. I`m Carl Azuz.