Almost two months later, we took a walk along the beautiful coastline around Laguna Beach while visiting our daughter and her family. The sea is almost turquoise, the sand is pristine, and cliffs jut out into the water at regular intervals, creating multiple coves as you walk along above it all. We were thoroughly enjoying our stroll when we came upon the sign in the photo above.
Later I read a story about the leak, and learned that three companies are facing charges for their alleged roles in it. Amplify Energy Co. and two of its wholly owned subsidiaries — Beta Operating Co. LLC and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co. — each face a misdemeanor count of negligent discharge of oil.
The legal/criminal ramifications to these companies – not to mention their CEOs – are in rather start contrast to the sentence that a young climate activist received for the damage she inflicted on several segments in Iowa of the Dakota Access pipeline before oil began flowing through it. Jessica Reznicek and another activist outed themselves a year after they pulled off the action without being caught. “We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land, and liberty,” they said. No one was injured in their actions (unless you count DAPL owner Energy Transfer Partners as a person.) She pleaded guilty, expecting the three-year sentence she had agreed to in the plea deal. But at sentencing, the judge added a consecutive, five-year “terrorism enhancement” charge to her sentence. She is currently serving time in a federal prison in Minnesota.
Her supporters are vigorously working to get the terrorism sentence thrown out. But the oil companies guilty of this spill will most likely be required to just pay a small fine, and they’ll be allowed to keep operating in the same old way, just as companies who desecrate Mother Earth have been allowed to do for the past century.
Go to www.supportjessicareznicek.com to sign the petition and see instructions for writing to her.
Meanwhile, southern California becomes an ever more unsustainable place for humans to live due to the climate crisis the two women were trying to stop and the fossil companies continue to exacerbate. The two biggest reservoirs – Lake Mead and Lake Powell – damming the Colorado River are at their lowest points ever. Drought is ongoing. Wildfires are almost year-round. The beautiful sequoia groves I visited last year suffered devastating fires two years in a row (before and after my visit), killing an estimated 20 percent of them. They actually need fire to open their cones and spread their seeds, but recent climate change-fueled fires burn much hotter than earlier fires. This is a tragedy, people!