Political prostitution is not a victimless crime and when it comes to matters of the environment, all too often humankind finds itself the unwilling victim.
Measure Z, an anti-fracking measure in Monterey County, California is a perfect example of how Big Oil preys on small town politicians to push their global agenda ― the extraction of oil and gas at all costs ― unrepentant of the social disruption, political strife and environmental damage it leaves behind.
Society’s expectations have shifted and Big Oil is increasingly seen as a part of our past, not the foundation of our future. Recognition of the effects of climate change on our planet can no longer acceptably be portrayed as a legitimate debate between the fringe climate change deniers and the overwhelming majority of scientists and scientific information. Big Oil knows this but has no defense.
Chevron Corporation and Aera Energy LLC are pouring millions of dollars into Monterey County in a disingenuous ad campaign:
The full campaign disclosure statement can be read here Chevron-Aera Energy No on Z Financial Statement - California FPPC Form 460_20160930 by Matthew Spiegl on Scribd.
Oil production using methods of fracking, acidization and steam injection generates enormous amounts of wastewater which gets injected back into the ground:
“Oil and gas operations use millions of gallons of water each year, and industry operators are faced with decisions regarding how to dispose of that wastewater. One of the most economical methods of oil and gas wastewater disposal – injecting the wastewater back into underground injection wells – is also one of the most problematic.” (Source: http://environmentalactioncenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/California-Injection-Well-Project-Case-Study_-Monterey-and-Fresno-Counties.pdf.)
Rather than address this problem, Big Oil is shamelessly trying to shift the discussion from protecting the environment to a false choice of funding schools and providing police and fire protection which has nothing to do with Measure Z’s core issue of protecting our water.
Big Oil’s ad campaign serves one purpose ― strike fear into those who have doubt. But what about the water; our most valuable resource. Not only does it sustain all life on our planet, but in Monterey County it is the life’s blood for the agriculture industry. More importantly water and the ocean ― not oil ― drives the economic engine known as the Blue Economy.
Today organizations such as the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Monterey County Hospitality Association are opposed Measure Z and want to allow fracking to take place in southern Monterey County. But what about tomorrow? Will these same organizations go even further; will they call for repeal of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and opening the coastal waters off Monterey County to future offshore fracking and oil exploration in the interest of ‘national security’? If you follow their misguided logic it is a very real possibility and should not go unchallenged:
“Banning oil and gas production in Monterey County means we would end up importing more oil from countries in the Middle East, Venezuela and Russia . . . it would make our energy security more reliant on often unreliable foreign sources.” (Source: No on Measure Z http://www.noonmeasurez.com/facts.)
Note the proximity of the Salinas River to the San Ardo Oil Field in southern Monterey County in the aerial photograph below. If extreme oil extraction methods and their associated risks are accepted by us as a society, then we are one spill, one accident, one disaster away from leaving future generations with nothing but a barren landscape in the long valley and pastures of heaven that once inspired Steinbeck.
Don’t be fooled by lies and deception. Big Oil is a dirty business supported by dirty people willing to do dirty things to get their way at all costs and fracking proponents are some of the dirtiest of them all.
These slick oil industry ads which dramatically feature vanishing fire engines and boarded-up fire stations are nothing more than political theatre ― propaganda at best in a political season where apparently anything goes. The centerpiece of the oil industry’s “No on Z” campaign is a television ad featuring four small town mayors from Monterey County who stare into the camera and parrot Big Oil’s message that fracking is safe.
We cannot afford to empower political leaders who are little more than political prostitutes. We cannot ignore the corporate pimping of local politicians who hide behind semantics and spoon fed talking points from oil industry handlers determined to confuse and disrupt policy discussions and decisions based on merit.
Most importantly, we must not give these political figureheads for hire a free pass when they interject their misguided personal morals, values and partisan preferences above those expressed through initiative put forth by the representative majority of the people they are supposed to serve.
When the ‘activists’ are the majority ― the mainstream voice of reason and conscience for protecting our planet, its people, wildlife and natural resources ― those in opposition must be viewed as the extremists; the one percenters, the radical elite who rape and pillage our planet for profit with no concern of consequence.
When interests of individual fortune are pitted against humanity’s future, we must hold our elected officials accountable. For it is “We the People” -– not the corporations –- who have entrusted these public servants with representing our will as we decide what is best for our future and the future of generations to come.
The exploitation of fossil fuels, its impact on the human race and the carbon footprint it leaves behind in pursuit of convenience is the driving force behind climate change. Continued reliance on oil until every last drop is sucked from the deepest depths of our planet is not the final solution; it is an apocalyptic path to destruction.
The true debate of our time should not be how we become energy independent from foreign oil; rather it must be how we become energy independent from all oil. We need leaders willing to accept that as truth and as a foundation from which truly sustainable options are championed.
Our planet’s future is in doubt and the stakes are too high to ignore these local insurgencies by Big Oil and other anti-government, anti-regulation individuals and organizations determined to undermine our democracy.
We have a choice; each of us has a voice and we need to use it. Vote to protect our planet. If you don’t, who will?