The idea that California is now immune to any pushback from the fossil fuel industry because we’re so enlightened about global warming and determined to do something about it should take a hit with this story, published by McClatchy, about Occidental Petroleum trying to pull a Daniel Plainview and dig up a national monument.
A subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum has notified the Bureau of Land Management that it would like to explore for oil in a central California national monument.
John Dearing, a BLM spokesman, said the agency can do nothing to stop Vintage Production from testing for oil under the Carrizo Plain National Monument in eastern San Luis Obispo County because the company has owned the mineral rights there since before President Bill Clinton created the monument in 2001.
“Because this is a national monument, there will be environmental concerns that will have to be strongly looked at,” Dearing said. “But they have a right to access.”
This is in almost precisely the region described in P.T. Anderson’s Oscar-nominated epic. The oil company bought up the rights and is now asserting the ability to drill despite the landmark status.
Oh by the way, this area is home to the largest concentration of endangered species anywhere in the country.
There is no cone of invincibility around California. As sure as the coal industry has wormed its way into sponsoring every Presidential debate on CNN and blanketing states like Ohio with messaging that “coal is good for America,” the oil industry will continue to drill in the name of “keeping us off foreign oil” and “securing our energy future.” There are battles ahead and there shouldn’t be any resting upon laurels.