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THE SO-CALLED "SANTA CRUZ CONSPIRACY"...

  Serge Dedina is a surfer, environmentalist and mayor of  

  Imperial Beach, a small working-class city on the

  California coast. He is also, if the fossil fuel industry is

  to be believed, at the heart of a conspiracy to shake

  down big oil for hundreds of millions of dollars.
 

  The problem is, Dedina had never heard of a Santa Cruz

  conspiracy. Few people had. “The only thing from Santa

  Cruz on my phone was videos of my kids surfing there,”

  Dedina said. “I love the fact that some lawyer in a really

  expensive suit, sitting in some horrible office trying to

  find evidence that we were in some kind of conspiracy

  with Santa Cruz, had to look at videos of my kids surfing.”

  Thats where the laughter stopped.

 
 The lawyers found no evidence to back up their claim.

  But that did not stop the industry from continuing to use

  its legal muscle to try to intimidate Dedina, who leads one

  of the poorest small cities in the region.

  The mayor became a target after Imperial Beach filed a

  lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and more than

  30 other fossil-fuel companies demanding they pay the

  huge costs of defending the city from rising seas caused

  by the climate crisis.

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