Serge Dedina is the mayor of Imperial Beach, a modest working-class community on the California coast. He is a surfer, an environmentalist, and a surfer. According to the fossil fuel sector, he’s also at the center of a plot to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from big oil.
ExxonMobil and its allies have accused Dedina of conspiring with other state politicians to extort money from the fossil-fuel sector across California. His phone and computer were also inspected by lawyers for proof he planned with authorities from Santa Cruz, a city roughly 500 miles north of Imperial Beach.
(Photo : Pixabay)
The oil rig owned in the Gulf of Mexico by Exxon is the highest artificial structure made into an artificial reef.
The thing is that Dedina had never heard of a conspiracy in Santa Cruz. Only a few people had.
“On my phone, the only thing from Santa Cruz was footage of my kids surfing there,” Dedina explained. “I love that some lawyer in a fancy suit had to look at recordings of my kids surfing while sitting in some awful office attempting to uncover evidence that we were in some plot with Santa Cruz.”
The laughter came to a halt at that point.
The attorneys were unable to find any proof to support their allegation. But it didn’t stop the business from using its legal might to attempt to intimidate Dedina, the mayor of one of the region’s tiny towns.
After Imperial Beach launched a lawsuit demanding that ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and more than 30 other fossil-fuel firms cover the tremendous expenses of defending the city against rising seas caused by the climate crisis, the mayor became a target.
In Imperial Beach’s case, the oil companies are accused of defrauding the public by concealing data that shows that burning fossil fuels is harmful to the environment. For decades, the business misled about climate change science, purposely delaying measures to reduce carbon emissions.
Dozens of Lawsuits
The city’s action is one of the first in a wave of lawsuits filed by two dozen cities and states throughout the United States, which may cost the fossil-fuel sector billions of dollars in compensation for environmental destruction and deceit.
Dedina claims that his 27,000-strong minority-majority hamlet cannot begin to finance the tens of millions of dollars it will take to keep the seas off three sides of his cash-strapped city. In addition, Imperial Beach has been converted into an island as a result of recent storms.
According to one estimate, rising sea levels would soon drown some of the city’s neighborhoods, flood its two schools regularly, and overwhelm the city’s drainage system unless costly mitigation measures are taken.
Imperial Beach’s Budget
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Imperial Beach has a $20 million yearly budget. Darren Woods, Exxon’s CEO, was paid more than $15 million last year.
“In this city, we don’t have a pot to piss in.” “Why don’t we go after the energy companies?” he said. “The case is a practical method to demanding those who caused sea-level rise to pay for the consequences it has on our city,” said the plaintiff.
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