"Economy over Environment" - Reuters Reporting

What I'm reading this morning - 

If you needed any proof that the recent and ongoing efforts to remove protections for national public lands and offshore sanctuaries had to do with allowing more fossil fuel extraction read these excellent pieces by Valerie Volcovici and Ron Buosso for Reuters. 

From Volcovici's piece, a quote from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke - 

"There is a social cost of not having jobs," the former Montana Congressman and Navy Seal said in the interview on Friday. "Energy dominance gives us the ability to supply our allies with energy, as well as to leverage our aggressors, or in some cases our enemies, like Iran," he said.

Rosenmund.jpgThe argument of jobs vs. protecting the environment is a trumped up (pun intended) mantra rooted in the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry - the oil industry has been here in Ventura County, and the nation and the world for over 100 years - we have new technology and new knowledge that shows us the harm done by using this fuel source and the ways we can eliminate that harm. The reason we have not made the switch  is simple - money.

It is important for the public to understand - something I learned from reading Bill McKibben's "Oil and Honey" - the current value of (stock price) of an oil and gas extractor is based on the applied value of the assets still in the ground. The reserves they can point to still locked in the earth, that is why the industry fights tooth and nail against environmental protections, tougher air emissions rules and so on - what would happen if we actually moved to a renewal energy system?  

The value of all those "assets" - oil and gas trapped in the earth - would be worth nada - zilch. And then what would happen to the biggest industry on the planet - collapse. This is why the divest movement, the solar, wind, ocean turbine, and water power, compostable plastics, organic ag (pesticides and fertilizers are petroleum based) get so much push back (lobbying dollars) from the oil and gas industry. 

They might be the most powerful corporations on the planet, BUT they are vulnerable - to new technology. 

In Buosso's piece Exxon Mobil and Shell are listed as two companies - here in Ventura County they partner together as Aera Energy - operating one of the most prolific oil fields in California - the Ventura Oil Field. They continue to add wells - and plug old ones. While the public keeps hearing these companies are working to diversify, to invest in renewables - are we seeing it? 

In Ventura County we keep hearing the jobs mantra - good jobs are important, but it is possible to provide good jobs without polluting our world. I am reading and writing about this because we hear these same arguments here in Ventura County "Economy over environment" and "jobs" - How would the Ventura County economy be impacted if oil field waste polluted water used for irrigating local strawberry fields? Think about it - our environment IS the foundation of our economy - a clean and healthy environment is what creates a healthy economy. 

Read the full Reuters articles: 

"Interior head says public lands can make U.S. a "dominant" oil powers," 

"Oil firms could waste trillions is climate targets reached - report" 

Map - 2016 data from California, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources - the Ventura Oil Field. In the Ventura River Watershed - operated by Aera Energy - a partnership of Exxon/Mobile and Shell.