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Who Profits from Exxon’s Workers?

“OMG” was my first response on reading “Displaced Exxon Workers Hope Trucking Permit Brings Them Home.”

I feel for the four “displaced” workers interviewed. However, I disagree with the proposed solution — to allow Exxon to truck oil from the Gaviota Coast to “inland refineries,” aka to Kern County.

We are a culture in transition. We may not be able to do away with our dependence on fossil fuels yet (yes to the inevitable question, I drive a car), but anyone who thinks drilling and trucking do not pose serious dangers has not been paying attention. Furthermore, we have the means to make use of alternatives to power our societal needs.

There are eight times more jobs in clean energy in Santa Barbara County than in the oil industry. Renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy and employs more people in the U.S. than fossil fuels. The cost of solar is falling daily. Construction workers and drivers are all needed to help build and maintain the solar industry.

Everyone needs a well-paying job close to home that supports his/her family. But let’s not be naïve: Who really profits from Mr. Johnson’s work for ExxonMobil? How does his salary compare to the CEO’s?

As our society evolves, we are moving from a crude source of power to a more refined source. This will not be an immediate transition. Our work force will need to be trained for new jobs. A sensible, compassionate government (as opposed to the corporatocracy now in charge) would work with corporations to train workers for the jobs of the future, rather than shed crocodile tears at the loss of those jobs, which ultimately feed their own profits and that of their shareholders.

Instead of a manipulative PR piece that plays on our sentiments about four men suffering in the industry’s demise, I suggest an exposé of the CEOs who benefit from the labor of others and who could better benefit themselves, their corporations, and the rest of us by investing in the new superior technology, thereby creating thousands of safe, well-paying jobs here at home.

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