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This story was originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Anette Arjoon is not anti-oil. The marine conservationist calls the vast new oil fields off Guyana’s coast a “blessing” that will earn billions of dollars for one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, even as she recognizes that pulling yet more fossil fuel from the ground will deepen the climate crisis.

But Arjoon does have a problem with who is drilling the oil. She has seen firsthand what happens when the United States’ largest petroleum company descends on a small country bearing the promise of riches.

As ExxonMobil began drilling a vast oilfield offshore two years ago, the Guyanese government called in the Amerindian marine conservationist to help monitor the environmental impact of what is expected to become the company’s biggest source of petroleum by 2025, outpacing even its wells sprawled across Texas.

Arjoon, who leads the Guyana Marine Conservation Society, was not impressed. In time she grew to believe that Exxon was indifferent to the dangers of an oil spill to the coast and rivers of one of the best pres... Read more

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