Episode 8: Oilfield Workers for a Just Transition
Episode 8: Oilfield Workers for a Just Transition
John Beard Jr., founder and president of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, worked at Exxon for 38 years. As a community advocate focusing on environmental issues and community development today, John knows firsthand the important intersection of environmental justice and labor justice.
John Beard, Jr. is the Founder, Chairman, CEO of Port Arthur Community Action Network. After working in the oil industry for 38 years, Beard turned to holding the industry accountable and became a community advocate in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. He founded the Port Arthur Community Action Network to fight for health and safety protections in an area teeming with refineries, export terminals, petrochemical plants…and cancer. In the past year, John Beard has emerged as an environmental justice leader on the national and world stage. He is a recipient of the 2021 Rose Bratz Award from the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Community Sentinel Award from the Halt the Harm Network. He was one of the frontline leaders of October’s historic “People Vs. Fossil Fuels” week of action in Washington, which saw thousands demanding that President Biden stop approvals of fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. He was also a keynote speaker at Seventh Generation‘s 2022 corporate assembly, a presenter on petrochemical pollution in the Texas Gulf South at Bennington College, Vermont and met with key members of Congress during the recent “No More Sacrifice Zones; STOP MVP!” rally in Washington, which led to the successful removal of Manchin’s permitting provisions from the 2022 budget bill. Most recently, he has testified before the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on Permit Reform, and was recently a front line representative at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Environmental Justice and Equity Forum.
Miguel Escoto: Welcome back to the eighth and final installment of our podcast on the Texas Permian Climate Bomb. Today we interview John Beard and this episode is all about workers. John Beard is the founder, president, and executive director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, or PACAN. Serving the Port Arthur and Southeast Texas area. As a community advocate focusing on environmental issues and community development. A previous employee of the fossil fuel industry, he joins us today to discuss the important intersection of environmental justice and labor justice. Here’s my conversation with him.
Miguel Escoto: John Beard, welcome to our podcast. In the series, we’ve been discussing the horrors of the oil and gas industry and the horrors that this industry creates for its workers. So as someone who used to work in the oil and gas industry but is now leading environmental justice campaigns in your community, your perspective is very important, very powerful. Thank you for being on.
John Beard, Jr.: Thank you very much, Miguel, for inviting me. Appreciate it.
Miguel Escoto: Yeah, of course. So we can go right into our questions here. Can you tell us a little bit more about your experience working at the refinery in Port Arthur?
John Beard, Jr.: Okay. Well.
Miguel Escoto: What was that like?
John Beard, Jr.: I worked for Exxon Mobil Corporation, which is located in Beaumont, Texas, about 20 miles from Port Arthur. I worked for them 38 years. Most of that time was split between being in the maintenance department, working on all sorts of equipment from piping and pipelines and machinery and compressors and pumps and vessels and all of that, to actually being an operator, a process operator, which is an individual or person who basically runs and manages the equipment that produces the oil and gas and products that we all use every day, and overseeing that equipment, making sure it’s in running order, setting up contractors and others, workers to do work on equipment that’s down or needing repair. And also has a great deal of safety aspect in that too, making sure that all the work is done safe, to protect not only yourself but your coworkers and the other workers that are there, as well as the community. Part of that time also was spent — a large part — as an industrial firefighter and learning how to fight structural fires as well as industrial-type fires inside the plant. Did some other work in emergency response as a, what you call an apparatus engineer. So I do have a little engineering background. That’s really a sophisticated way of saying a truck driver. I drive a fire truck, but it’s not just driving it. It’s operating equipment, setting it up, getting it to do what’s needed so you can fight these fires when they happen. And I also did some work in hazardous material handling and so forth, like that. But a lot of that is what you get when you work in the plants, especially as an operator. Because you have to know and understand the equipment. You have to also know and understand the chemicals, the substances you use that you will encounter and taking the necessary measures to protect yourself by using what we call PPE, proper protective equipment. So that’s in large part what my work was about for 38 years.
Miguel Escoto: So you mentioned a lot… a big portion of your work regarded safety.
John Beard, Jr.: Yes.
Miguel Escoto: Would you describe this sort of process, if done incorrectly, a dangerous process?
John Beard, Jr.: Well, yes. Working in a refinery is no picnic. It’s not a walk in the park. There are dangers all around. At any time. Anything can happen. And you have to have that level of awareness. When we work or plan the work that we have to do that day. And there’s a number of jobs that we do throughout the day that come up, some that are planned, some of them that happen in the blink of an eye. And you have to be able to know and understand and diagnose those problems and that equipment. And from the safety aspect, we have to… we always ask this one question: what is the worst that can happen? What can happen? And as I’m doing this, as I’m using my hands to work on a piece of equipment or to move a pump or a motor or something, how do I use my hands? And how can I do this work without placing myself at risk of losing a finger or even a hand? You know, I’ve had friends that had that happen, that have had fingers snipped off or, or even have their arm up to the elbow mashed. I mean, just virtually flattened because it got caught in a roller press. But it’s trying to also look at how small and how can you prevent that exposure? How can you minimize it? So we’re always in the mindset of thinking that.
And I will say, on the part of my company, that they do a great deal in terms of training you as to make you aware of what you’re doing and how dangerous it is. A lot of other companies in places probably don’t place that kind of emphasis, but we place a very strong… We did at that time place very strong emphasis on that to not only protect ourselves and the people working with us, but also the community. But there are some rules and aspects of those rules which, while they’re designed to protect the community, they still create exposure. And that’s what the whole thing is about. How do you minimize exposure to these chemicals and toxins that are harmful to our bodies? And it’s very difficult to do that in those settings, and it’s even more difficult to prevent it from getting out in public when the laws are crafted in such a way that they don’t really give you the tools to work with to do it because they set a limit. Case and point, Miguel. You always hear them talk about benzene and it’s carcinogenic and these various substances, how bad they are. If they’re so bad, then why does the EPA and TCEQ tolerate those things being emitted and released into the air? You know, I don’t… I dont… how much benzene can you take a stand without getting cancer? Do you know? I don’t know. Nobody knows. There’s no low limit. Nobody knows what the least amount is that you can get exposed to without getting cancer. So then it raises the question, if there’s no known low limit, then why expose people at all? Now, of course, they won’t test on all this stuff, but that doesn’t give you that’s not like what happens with a human being. Things can happen drastically different from person to person. So if it creates a problem by virtue of exposure, then we don’t want that exposure. So we try to minimize. And we try to do the work, but yet put safety first. Because if you don’t protect the people, you can’t get the work done and you can’t protect things outside of that. But then you always have people that are more eager to do the work and put a feather in their cap and make money than they are about doing it safely. And that’s one of the big problems, and there’s some companies that are like that. But largely our company tried to always enforce safety, so we’re not going to sacrifice safety for profit or production. But yet, during my last few years there, I think over the last three or four years, I was there. We killed one person in that plant every year.
Miguel Escoto: Really?
John Beard, Jr.: Yes.
Miguel Escoto: Wow.
John Beard, Jr.: We didn’t… Let me rephrase that. We didn’t kill them. There were accidents that happened. And that’s why they call them accidents. They could have been prevented because in hindsight, when we do what’s called a root cause analysis to see what the steps were leading up to this and what went wrong so we can learn from it, we always found that it was… you can always find it’s going to be a failure of equipment, of human error, of bad judgment or misjudgment on the part of somebody, or we just didn’t see all of the little things coming in a line that leading to that place when something happens, you know, if you continue to have what we call near-misses and accidents, no matter how minor, you know, eventually because of a lack of attention, you’re going to miss something real big one day and it’s going to bite you. It’s going to get you. You know, the TPC explosion of fire that you heard about, same thing. A lot of small things added up to a big explosion. And all because they just simply didn’t pay attention. They get what we call tunnel vision. So it’s a matter of trying to work around those things and make things better and safer for your workers. And that helps the community and helps everybody.
Miguel Escoto: Right. And as you mentioned, describing benzene right? There… I believe there are studies from the American Petroleum Institute themselves that even they admit that there is no safe level of exposure yet, that… those findings don’t translate over to our laws, which prevent benzene at a lot of amounts and yeah, I mean, we’ve been describing throughout this podcast the inherent danger that the oil and gas industry has for workers. And a lot of what you described there is similar to what happens out in the Permian oil fields. Many people die and it’s a matter of being overworked, not having enough training or accidents. Some of the accidents are just a lack of enough attention. So I did want to ask you about your transition to what you’re doing now. I mean, you’re currently doing an amazing environmental justice work for your community as founder and CEO of Port Arthur Community Action Network, PACAN. So what was it that inspired you to engage in this sort of environmental and climate justice work after spending years working in and within the industry?
John Beard, Jr.: Well, that’s a very long path there. First of all, my dad worked for Gulf Oil Corporation. He came in the… the late twenties, early thirties to Port Arthur from East Texas. And he worked for that company 44 years and seven months before he retired. I didn’t quite get that many years in, but I got close. But, you know, and then I was born and raised in what you call the fence line community. There are old pictures of the house, probably when I was younger, that show the fence line of their tank farm, the Texaco refinery tank farm at that time, less than 30 feet from the house. As a matter of fact it’s probably less than… way less than that. It looked like you could open up a window and reach out to touch it. It’s just that close. And people didn’t think anything of it. I was fortunate enough when I graduated high school, went to college, had some college and was looking for some work while I was going to complete studies and I got what I like to consider the call. It wasn’t a call to be a pastor going to the ministry. It was a call to go to work and make what at that time was serious money. The plants paid very well. You could make a very good living. You could build a life for yourself, buy a home, buy a car, send your kids to college. And I took advantage of that opportunity. But as you go through that, I’ve seen the gamut of it where a lot of attention was paid to how the business was done and operated. Take, for instance, guys working, like pipefitters that I worked a lot with, working on equipment. And sometimes you have, you know, your tools, wrenches and so forth like that get pretty dirty. They get oily, grimy with that stuff. And there was the substance in the drum that they used to clean it; they called it chloroethylene. The real name of it is trichloroethylene. It is a known carcinogen. And there were guys back then when I first started working there, they would go and take a five gallon bucket and put it under this drum, and open the valve and fill about half of that five gallon bucket full of trichloroethylene and put their tools in it. You had a red rag and kind of cleaned all the oil and stuff off of it and put the tools up because they took care of your tools. The tools to help you take care of your job. So take care of your tools. Not realizing that they didn’t have any gloves on their hands or anything and they stuck their hands in this stuff and your hand would come out, you know, like it would leech the oils and stuff out of your hand. Your hands would get very dry, kind of ashy looking, you know. And finally, one day they said, hey, you know, we’re not going to use this anymore. Matter of fact, that one barrel you got there, send it back to the storehouse, we’re getting all that stuff out of there. And it was a number of things, asbestos. You know, for years they worked with just a little paper mask and not even as good as these N-95 that we use. And you know that those fibers from asbestos can go through that like it’s nothing. Finally, we learned about it and they took action to train and teach people about it. And, you use… you use a lot of insulation there, but they basically told us they treat everything like asbestos because you really don’t know if it has it or not. So we’ll treat it all that way.
But that was a lot of work that we did in that regard. So having worked all those years in the industry and seeing what was happening and seeing how it affected my community and my city when I retired, I saw that as a good opportunity to take the learnings and knowledge I had from being inside the plant, as well as being someone who was also an elected official, former city council member, and having to work with the industry on tax agreements and a lot of the things that would happen and that do by course, working together come into and then also my training as an operator, as a firefighter, as a hazardous material responder. All of that I think creates a unique skill set that allows me to work in this space a lot differently. I’m not talking about something I don’t know or that I’ve read a book. I actually did that I was actually part of it in so many ways. So it gives me a different perspective and a different way of approaching things that I think yield results and help us make our communities better and safer. So that’s in large part why I got into this. I saw a need and I felt like, you know, there was work to be done and I want to step up and try to do it. And here we are.
Miguel Escoto: Right, no, and we’re still still doing that work. So some folks in the industry do see environmentalists, quote unquote, environmentalists, like you and me, as part of their enemy. They see activists as people who threaten their livelihoods and can take their job away. But in your view, how do the goals and the principles of our climate movement actually align with the goals of workers currently in the oil and gas industry?
John Beard, Jr.: Well, first of all, I tell people and I hear that sort of talk all the time, oh, yeah, he’s made his money retired now he’s interrupting mine. Well, there’s no such thing as that. I like to always say that, you know, we talk about the energy transition from fossil fuels to clean, green, efficient energy. And I like to say it’s not going to happen with the flip of a switch or snap of a finger. It’s going to take time to get there. But we have to take the steps to get there. And in doing that, we have to create new opportunities for jobs and for training for those jobs so that people can have a future. I understand all very well what people think about that. You know, my company hadn’t had any layoffs, you know, when a lot of companies were laying off people, we never suffered that, you know. A lot of people lost their job because they reduced manpower in the workforce. But we didn’t do that. You know, we handled our business differently. But what they have to understand is and what we have to do is nuance our message to get them to understand we’re not trying to destroy an industry or destroy people’s lives. That’s crazy to even suggest that. What we’re saying is that, like I said earlier, you know better, you do better. This is a dangerous hazardous industry that produces hazardous chemicals that are, as we say, IDLH immediately, dangerous to life and health. So we got to find a way to do better. When we know better, we do better. Well, let’s try to do better. How do we do that? Let’s plan that move. Let’s address those questions. Some people figure you’re going to get rid of their job. No, we’re not. We’re going to create new jobs and create them in areas where people are in the petrochemical field so that they can transition to those new jobs.
It’s a way to do it. But let’s sit down first, calmly and rationally talk about it. Quit throwing out and making people villains and attaching names to them that really just become more emotionally content rather than thought out and rational and sensible. You know, I guess one of my favorite movies, 300, the guy says, “Let’s come and let us sit down and reason together as men.” So what we got to do, we got to sit down and reason and talk and not put up all these barriers and react emotionally. Let’s think clearly, emphasize and find a way to do this. And I think if we make our message work in that way, we’ll be successful.
Miguel Escoto: Right. And another way I like to think of this is that as a country, the U.S. is the richest country in the history of humanity. There is immense wealth that has been hoarded up into the top by the most elite of the most elite through decades of exploitation. So, the resources are there, the wealth is there. It’s just a matter of transitioning to a program where no worker loses their paycheck and they work in something that actually helps the environment and helps their community instead of working in a place that pollutes their community or… or in a place like the refinery, like you mentioned, where one person dies every year. That doesn’t sound like a… like a healthy workplace to be at. Right? I agree with you. And I think there are a lot of ways in which labor and the climate movement can really, really collaborate to build power and build the future that they want to see.
John Beard, Jr.: Right. There’s a great deal of intersectionality there, where our purposes and causes do meet and intersect. But once again, what we have to do is be able to sit down, calmly and rationally and talk about those things and issues and then find solutions. We’re not going to do it screaming and shouting at each other, pointing fingers and demonizing people. You know, going back to what you said earlier and what I’ve mentioned about those people dying, you know, when we looked at what happened, like I said, we do what we call a root cause analysis. How did this happen? We investigate it so we get learnings from it to do better. And sometimes we learn and sometimes we don’t. One of the worst incidents that happened during the day, I had to work that night. I came in on it rather late, but I began when I was told about it, about five or six people got injured, four of them severely, two of them, I think, died. It was a flash fire. And the procedure that they use to prepare the equipment and do the work wasn’t followed. You know, they lay it out. See we don’t just go up and start doing work. There are plans made. When they have what’s called a turnaround or an outage, where they shut down an entire unit, get it ready to disassemble and work on it, put it back together, and then re-stream it or put it back online to where its producing oil and gas and product — this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. It’s planned for over a year in advance though, and they come up with procedures as to how to do every bit of that work. Steps that are written. You know, the books written, you know, binders with all of those steps of how long it should take and all of that is what’s needed to do it. But then as usual you always have, because there’s this drive, this competitiveness to make money to compete to create winners and losers that some people will say, well, if I can find a way to shorten this, they’re giving us three days to do this job. If I can cut it down to two or maybe even one, that’s a feather in my cap. Somebody will notice my good work. I’ll get a promotion and more money. And a lot of times in thinking that way, you get tunnel vision. You can only see that goal ahead. Getting that money and making that big deal as we see it, of doing something and getting the pat on the back and all for good work. But in the course of doing that, you miss some things that if things all get in alignment, as we say, all the dots line up and you can go straight to it, you’re going to go right into an incident. And that’s what happened in this case. Somebody did something that went against the plan that was already decided on. So that’s that human error aspect and then there’s the equipment failure. But you always have to think about those things and be aware. So, you know, when we talk about that with these companies and workers’ companies, first of all, people have to start valuing other people and not say, well, I got mine, you get yours the best way you can. We all can be successful. And we’ve gotta get out of that mentality of being, as you know, as I’ve heard, in a position of want. You know, you always say this, Miguel. What do people want more than money? More money. And there’s never enough. So we’ve gotta get out of that position of saying there’s some basics to life and living that we all should have and share in that. And it doesn’t take anything away from you or me to do that, but let’s create those opportunities because those opportunities are not being given to everybody, and access to those opportunities is not being done fairly and equitably. And if I look at the hiring when I was hired in, there was ten of us that hired, and out of the ten, there were no women, not one, and there were three minorities out of ten — one Hispanic and two Blacks. And then sometimes they hire in those groups like that. And there were no… there were no people of color. So how is that fair and equitable when you live in a diverse community? All those people should have that right and opportunity, you know? So we’ve got to… we’ve got to change the way we look at this thing, and see how we can be better and fairer and create a more fair and just world, so that everybody has the opportunity to be able to do these things and to live and live a good life and so that my making a living doesn’t cause you to have to breathe poison. There’s no excuse for that.
Miguel Escoto: Right, right. And you talk about sitting down and having a rational conversation when many oil and gas workers feel the need to defend this industry because it’s their source of employment. But one of the things I’m hoping we can talk about is the difference between an employee defending the industry versus a Wall Street CEO billionaire defending the industry. There are a lot of different interests between a boss defending this industry and a worker. Right?
John Beard, Jr.: Right.
Miguel Escoto: So from your experience, what are some ways in which corporations like Exxon or others have treated their workers unfairly? Unjustly?
John Beard, Jr.: Well, look at what’s going on right now in Beaumont. During all of my time there… And one of the things I used to tell a lot of young guys before I left in 2017, was something the old timers always told us, you know, the contracts we used to have for union plants was up every two years. So that means you had to plan what you wanted to do, whether it was sending a kid to college or buy a car or buy a house. You had to plan it because you didn’t know if you were going to be on strike or not. And back in the day, they used to have strikes all the time. That was nothing. They had them frequently. But we got to the point where we thought it was better to be able to sit down, talk, work and cooperate and with a little give and take, be able to do some things where you continued to work, you didn’t lose time or money and your working conditions were better. See, people think it’s always about money, but it’s not about money all the time. And that’s the problem we have here now with Exxon. And their lock out. Not strike. They basically forced the workers off the job because they would not agree to and sign a contract which they felt was unfair. And that’s why the National Labor Relations Board is looking at that. It was unfair to force them out. When I was there, they would… strike was a last resort. We said, okay, but long as we’re talking and can and are able to talk and work towards a resolution, let’s continue to work day to day. Let’s have a rolling contract. The contract would just roll over day to day. We keep the same rules, just a new day. And eventually we got to the point where we could do it. But now, in my 38 years, we were on strike twice, both times for a total of three months. And a lot of people can’t afford to do that. But, you know, you have to plan for those things as best you can and be prepared and ready, because what you’re striking for is worth it. Safety, good benefits, and a future for yourself and your family. It doesn’t make sense to work a job and then, well, we’re going to get rid of that job in about the next year or so, so you’re gonna have to start all over again in some other industry or whatever. That’s a difficult thing to go through. So we have to find that these companies have to start valuing people and we have to impress upon them those are real people out there. It’s not just about your shareholder value or your stock value or the company’s value and all of that, how much money they make. You do this to help people. We don’t work just because we like it. We work because it helps us sustain and build our lives and help us help our families. And I think we… all the companies have to be held to a higher level of what I call corporate responsibility. They have a responsibility to the communities in which they do business, and they have a responsibility to enhance and improve life for all people. Look at the difference in companies that actually do that and the way the employees feel as opposed to the Amazons and others and the Exxons that don’t do that sort of thing. You can still make money and make a lot of it and still help people and create opportunities and enrich the quality of life. More companies would do that and more workers and more stock… the shareholders would hold companies accountable to do good, meaningful, significant things to improve the quality of life in communities at large. We’d be a lot better off.
Miguel Escoto: Right, right. And another way I also like to think of this is in terms of democracy. So currently in the United States energy world, in the energy industry, what democracy is there for workers? And we see that it’s very few. The vast majority of decisions are made by a board of executives in New York or London. And one of the opportunities that we have with this transition to a green economy, like you mentioned, with clean, healthy, renewable energy, is that workers can be part of deciding what that looks like. And that’s something that gives me hope, is that whereas currently it’s a storm of chaos, you don’t know whether you’re going to be laid off or not, you don’t know how the price of oil is going to affect sending your kids to college, this boom and bust cycle that hits the oil field constantly. We can create a world in which there is consistency, there’s sustainability, and importantly, there’s democracy in your… in your workplace. But with that, I have one last question to ask you. And I wanted to ask you, what would be your message to any listener that currently works in the fossil fuel industry?
John Beard, Jr.: Well, first of all, let me go back to address what you said about democracy and democratic processes and ideals. We find that democracies work. We know they do. As you said earlier, the most prosperous nation in the history of mankind, our country, is relatively young, still a relatively young country. We’re no empire. But we got here because the principles of ‘out of many one’ — E pluribus Unum. We got here because we began to understand the value of each and every person being a part of the whole and contributing. And we have to continue to do that. I think this trend and shift today toward more authoritarian types of government and types of rule is largely a result of people wanting to maintain the status quo of… to be able to keep and retain and hold power. But what we found throughout history is that power can be very fleeting. You can have it. And then once the people and the large majority of people are tired of the oppression and being under the thumb and the foot and the heel of oppressive power, that they decide to throw off that yoke and shackles. We did it back in 1776 and it’s still happening throughout the world today.
Looking at my old company, when they took over Mobil Oil and Exxon merged in around 1999 I think it was, the biggest problem that Exxon had with Mobil people — Heritage Mobil, and I’m Heritage Mobil — was that we believed in a system where the workers had a say in the work and how it got done and out profitability. You know, you let us be stock and shareholders, you involve us, so we should have a say. We’re just not here in name only and that they had a hard time getting used to that because the hierarchy is that word comes down from Mount Olympus and this is what thou shalt do and thou shalt not do anything else but that. And we would say, nah, I don’t think so. And that was rather shocking to some of the managers and others that we had to explain to them, we come from a culture where we sit and we talk and find the best way to do it and move forward. Back then, you had three companies that were the most dominant: Exxon, Mobil and Walmart, and they always interchanged who was number one this quarter, number two and whatever. But we were always there. We were a lot smaller company, considerably smaller, but the way we did our business was beneficial for everybody and it worked. And in talking to my peers now we talk about the fact of how, you know, we didn’t know how good we had it back then, considering what’s going on now, considering what happened when we became part of Exxon. But it… getting back to your main question, what I would want to tell workers and others close to the industry and in the industry, is that we have to think about what we’re doing and how it affects other people and affects the world. And it’s proven and it’s known and understood what burning fossil fuels is going to do to the atmosphere and to the environment. Now the question becomes, do you want to continue at this breakneck pace of doing that, or do we want to stop and say, is it worth the risk? And how can we manage and avoid climate catastrophe while at the same time continuing to allow ourselves to be able to live and help our families, put food on the table, keep the lights on, but get away from something that is so deadly that it will basically affect every single living organism on this planet.
We’ve got to understand that and be rational about it and quit trying to be melodramatic and say, “You bunch of tree huggers, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” The science is there and it’s real. You don’t have to believe in it or acknowledge it. But the facts are there. We can see it. We can see it. And if you don’t want to believe the facts, then ask yourself this question. If it is true, if it is true, then what? And if it isn’t, is it going to hurt us to make this transition anyway? It’s not going to hurt us. It’s a good thing. It creates more opportunity. It opens things up. But my biggest pet peeve in all of this is that the same people that got us into this mess can’t get us out of it. Because their goal and objective is not about that. It’s like the flavor of the day or all or the song of the day. Oh, we’ll sing that song. But the next day there’s a new song of the day. We’ll sing it too. We may not sing it well, but we’ll sing it too. They want to continue to make money, and that’s not a bad thing. But they have to do it in a socially responsible way that values people, that values the planet, and that values the environment. The great Indian chief or Indigenous or Native American chief, Seattle said, that it would be the end of days when man went so far with polluting and just living and just using and abusing the land and everything in it, that they would be basically poisoned in his own bed. That’s a heck of a thing to think about. Your poisoning, the very thing from which you have to draw life and sustenance. And that’s never good. So we’ve got to take a hard look at ourselves and be rational and intelligent about it and find a way to quit trying to make enemies of people and demonize and vilify people and seek reason and understanding and a path forward that we can all share and enjoy, Miguel.
Miguel Escoto: Thank you for listening to our series. To review, we’ve covered the international methane crisis posed by the Permian’s extreme production levels and the need for us to stop new drilling. We’ve done a deep dive into the absurd and corrupt Texas environmental agencies and how current regulations on the industry are a fraud. We’ve talked to experts on the oil and gas industry’s dirty radioactive waste secret, and we’ve explored the class dynamics of the oil field, demonstrating the valuable need for intersectionality between the environmental justice and labor rights movement. The oil field is a battlefield for our climate movement. We hope that you’ve found this podcast grounding and informative, but most importantly, we hope that it has inspired you to take action on the climate crisis. The Permian Climate Bomb is a fight that concerns everyone. To take action on the Permian climate bomb please visit wwww.permianclimate bomb.org. This podcast was written and produced by me, Miguel Escoto, as a project by the environmental nonprofit organization Earthworks. Special thanks to all of our guests who helped bring life into this story.
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