Time Out for Oil

Okay, let me get this straight: Occidental Petroleum, a Fortune 500 company whose revenue in 2020 was $17.809 billion (with a B), was not held accountable for cleaning up the oily mess their uncapped, seeping well caused in Toro Canyon?

The leak was discovered in August 2020 and “… an EPA study in late 1990s determined it would be unfeasible to cap the well.” They estimate that 420-630 gallons of oil have leaked since, polluting our waterways and killing wildlife. That estimate is undoubtedly low given that county staff determined the pipe was damaged during the Thomas Fire in 2016, nearly five years ago.

As Representative Katie Porter recently stated, every parent knows that if your child wants to dump her Legos all over the floor, the child must clean up the mess.

Companies like Occidental, ExxonMobil, and their subsidiaries gain enormous profits and dump oil all over our collective floor, yet manage to escape the cleanup and stick us — the county and the taxpayers — with the tab. When will we stop allowing this? We need to demand they use their profits to pay the social and environmental costs of drilling.

I think they need a “time out,” don’t you?


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