Aera wants us to green light their plan to radically ramp up oil operations in Cat Canyon. The company is jointly owned by Exxon and Shell. As you read this, Exxon is awaiting, probably in vain, a major court verdict in a suit that charges it has lied to the public for decades.
Exxon knew that its business was altering the climate, bringing us more destructive wild fires, among much else. But they repeatedly deceived the public, just as the tobacco companies knew their cigarettes caused cancer but denied it.
Rather than act ethically and honestly, Exxon spent millions on climate-denying think tanks and researchers to confuse the public about climate science. Exxon now concedes that climate change is happening because of the burning of fossil fuels. Still the company plans to increase its oil output by 25 percent by 2025 at a time when the world should be sharply reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Lawsuits, like the current one in New York State, brought by its Attorney General, and the upcoming one in Massachusetts, are an important step for society to free itself from the grasp of this industry. Most directly, the suits can provide the billions necessary for communities to repair climate damages and fortify their infrastructure for the problems ahead. And if these cases are successful, Big Oil will finally be forced to pay for the costs they have foisted on taxpayers.
It’s time to say a final “no” to new oil development in our County. No more being duped by Aera and the others. No more pursuit of short-term profit for a few. More than enough oil is available from other places to carry us through the transition to a cleaner, safer and better economy. Good and plentiful jobs, and a healthy environment, depend on clean energy.