Oil has again coated the beaches of Southern California, this time from a ruptured pipeline near Newport Beach. The response is less shock than resignation, since we’ve seen so many of these debacles in the past fifty years, including the Exxon Valdez spill and the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But there’s a difference this time: the spill comes as the oil industry heads into a terminal decline, its reputation wrecked and its power starting to wane. Responding to a call from indigenous groups, environmentalists from around the country are descending on Washington, D.C., this week for a series of “People vs. Fossil Fuels” civil-disobedience actions outside the White House, Congress, and the Army Corps of Engineers; for the moment they’re being arrested, but in the long run they clearly have momentum on their side. The only questions now are how long the industry can hang on and how much more damage it will do.
By Bill McKibben. The New Yorker. October 12, 2021.