While Marx expected the industrial proletariat to spearhead the socialist revolution, it is now left to those who resist the burning of the last of the planet’s fossil fuel – which continues to engorge the hyper-capitalism of the early twenty-first century – to usher us into the gloaming: the dappled shadowland of Modernity’s long twilight where we begin to make living arrangements that fully recognize the critical symbioses of the human and nonhuman.
Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG.org) in Ventura County in Southern California is fighting big, medium and little oil as they rapaciously squeeze the last reserves of an oil-rich county by drilling, fracking, and even tar-sands extraction right in the middle of the Oxnard plain, one of the richest row-crop regions in the state. There is, at this point, no such-thing as responsible oil and gas. But as CROG’s executive director, Kimberly Rivers, explained to me, this milquetoast designation is necessary to maintain ‘a seat at the table’. This is a table that is sliding irrevocably into the trash-heap of history. But for now, attendance at the last supper of the depraved predation of the earth’s crust provides a few scraps of satisfaction in the reining in of the worst acts of malfeasance by the County and oil industry cabal.
CFROG are fighting oil interests on the basis of their bureaucratic over-reach facilitated by a County Planning Department long used to the laissez-faire, rubber-stamp continuance of long-ago conditional-use permits extended time and time again often covering new methods of monsterish extraction, flaring and waste-water re-injection without enforcing the terms of the California’s Environmental Quality Act – because the original permits pre-date the passing of the legislation signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1970. Oil drilling, oil spills and resistance to the environmental damage they cause have a long history in Southern California.
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