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Chevron should pay $27 billion in compensation

Posted by feww on November 27, 2008

Expert estimates cost of oil giant’s environmental damage in Ecuador at $27billion

The oil company Chevron Corp should pay $27 billion in compensation for environmental damage it caused in Ecuador, an expert geologist says.


Antiwar protesters demonstrate outside Chevron Corp headquarters. Source

In a 1990s lawsuit brought against Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001, the farmers and indigenous groups in Ecuador contend that the company polluted the forest and damaged their health by dumping about 70 million cubic meters of contaminated water over two decades between 1972 and 1992.

Chevron dismisses the claim arguing that the independent damage report “contains fabricated and erroneous evidence,” and that Texaco was released from any liability because it paid $40 million for an environmental cleanup in the 1990s. Chevron also blames state oil company Petroecuador for most of the pollution.

A final ruling on the case is expected in 2009.

Related News Links:

Chevron’s Environmental record [from Wikipedia]

From 1965 to 1993, Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) participated in a consortium to develop the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador. It has been accused of extensive environmental damage from these operations, and faces legal claims from both private plaintiffs and the government of Ecuador. The case has been widely publicized by environmental activists. Chevron claims that it is being unfairly targeted as a deep pocket defendant, when the actual responsibility lies with the government and its national oil company.

Chevron’s activities in Richmond, California have been the subject of ongoing controversy. The project houses over 11 million pounds of toxic materials and has been responsible for over 304 accidents.[11] For illegally bypassing wastewater treatments and failing to notify the public about toxic releases, Chevron’s Richmond refineries were forced to pay $540,000 in 1998.[12] Overall, Chevron is listed as potentially responsible for ninety-five Superfund sites—locations for which the EPA has earmarked funds for cleanup.[13] In October, 2003, the state of New Hampshire sued Chevron and other oil companies for using MTBE, a gasoline additive that the attorney general claimed polluted much of the state’s water supply.[14]

Chevron’s African operations have also been criticized as environmentally unsound.[15] In 2002, Angola became the first African nation ever to fine a major multinational corporation operating in its own waters when it demanded 2 million dollars in compensation for oil spills allegedly caused by Chevron’s poor maintenance.[16]

On October 16, 2003, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. resolved a Clean Air Act settlement, which reduced harmful air emissions by about 10,000 tons a year.[17] In San Francisco, Chevron was filed by a consent decree to spend almost $275 million to install and utilize innovative technology to reduce nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions at its refineries.[18] After violating the Clean Air Act at an offline loading terminal in El Segundo, California, Chevron paid a $6 million penalty as well as $1 million More…

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8 Responses to “Chevron should pay $27 billion in compensation”

  1. feww said

    U.S. judge rules for Chevron in Ecuador case
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62A3RV20100311

  2. feww said

    Ecuadorean judge changed on Chevron pollution case
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61L3YL20100222
    QUITO (Reuters) – The provincial court in Ecuador’s Amazon region that is hearing a $27 billion environmental damages case against Chevron Corp has changed the judge in charge of the case, court officials said on Monday.

  3. Dr. Miriam Lopez said

    [Please resubmit with a cover note explaining what the letter was about. Thanks. Moderator]

  4. feww said

    Chevron takes Ecuador fight to trade arbitrators
    Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:36pm EDT

    By Braden Reddall

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Chevron Corp said it had filed an international arbitration claim against Ecuador, opening a new front in its defense against a $27 billion environmental damage lawsuit in Ecuadorean court.

    The second-largest U.S. oil company has often complained of government interference in the 16-year-old case, in which indigenous communities have accused Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, of damaging the environment and their health while operating petroleum facilities in the region.

    Three weeks ago, Chevron accused the judge in the case of being involved in a $3 million bribery scheme and offered secretly videotaped footage as evidence that led to an Ecuadorean investigation.

    Claiming Ecuador’s government has violated a bilateral U.S.-Ecuador investment treaty, Chevron said on Wednesday an arbitration proceeding had commenced before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague under United Nations trade law.

    “Because Ecuador’s judicial system is incapable of functioning independently of political influence, Chevron has no choice but to seek relief under the treaty,” Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s recently appointed general counsel, said in a company statement.

    Chevron says that in 1998, Ecuador and state oil company Petroecuador released Texaco from further liability after Texaco’s remediation work was completed.

    But plaintiffs in the case argue that the release did not deal with private claims against the company.

    According to Chevron’s filing, the arbitration process will involve three arbitrators. Chevron has appointed Horacio Grigera Naon, from the college of law at American University, Washington, and Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson said Ecuador would appoint a second who would work with Grigera Naon to appoint a third.

    The plaintiffs say Texaco dumped billions of gallons of polluted water in the jungle around where they live for more than two decades before leaving Ecuador in the early 1990s. The first legal action in the case was filed in New York in 1993, but the case was moved to Ecuador earlier this decade.

    An expert appointed by the Ecuadorean court said last year that Chevron should pay around $27 billion, including more than $8 billion in unjust enrichment.

    Steven Donziger, a U.S. legal adviser to the plaintiffs, said the latest move by Chevron followed a series of setbacks in courts for the company in both countries.

    “Filing an international arbitration campaign at this point in time smacks of desperation and is a clear example of forum shopping,” Donziger said in emailed statement.

    As for the Ecuador case, Judge Juan Nunez sought to remove himself from it to allow for an investigation into Chevron’s claims against him, but Donziger said it had not been allowed.

    “The judge’s request for recusal has been denied,” Donziger told Reuters in Bogota. “Our interest is not in who the judge is. Our interest is that the process be fair.”

    Chevron has faced increasing media scrutiny over the Ecuadorean case, with a documentary on the dispute opening up in New York earlier this month.

    The film opens later this week in San Francisco, about 30 miles to the west of Chevron’s headquarters in San Ramon, California.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE58N70520090924
    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

  5. feww said

    Is Chevron scared of “Crude” the movie?
    Wed Sep 9, 2009 3:41pm EDT
    By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Is oil giant Chevron afraid of a movie?

    One of the stars of “Crude,” a documentary about a $27 billion environmental lawsuit filed against the company on behalf of residents of Ecuador’s Amazon, certainly thinks so. A spokesman for Chevron vehemently denies it.

    The film’s New York opening on Wednesday is the latest twist in a class action case that began 16 years ago, which argues that Chevron should compensate some 30,000 Ecuadoreans who live near waste pits left by oil exploration going back to the 1960s.

    “Crude” shows villagers living by oil-slicked streams, washing clothes in contaminated water. One scene shows a newborn with head-to-toe skin rashes; others offer interviews with Ecuadoreans who contend those who use the water or live near it are prone to cancer, birth defects and other ailments.

    The film is absorbing, in large part due to one of the personalities with the most screen time: Trudie Styler, who with her husband Sting founded the Rainforest Foundation.

    Styler visited the affected area in Ecuador and her group donated rain-collection barrels so villagers can have clean water. She praised the film for its environmental message and vividly recalled the stench in the area.

    “Before you’re smelling things, your eyes start to prick and to have a burning sensation and the closer you get to … these contaminated areas where people are being forced to live, your nostrils fill up … your saliva gets the taste of petroleum in it as well … and then 20 minutes later you’re getting this horrible headache,” Styler told Reuters.

    CHEVRON DENIES RESPONSIBILITY

    Chevron denies responsibility for the contamination and stepped up a media campaign last week, offering videotapes that the company said show the Ecuadorean judge in the case was involved in a bribery scheme.

    The judge recused himself from the case but said he did nothing wrong, and the Washington D.C.-based Amazon Defense Coalition that supports the plaintiffs said the video shows the judge resisted attempts to bribe him.

    Steve Donziger, a U.S.-based consulting plaintiffs’ attorney, questioned the timing of Chevron’s latest campaign.

    “I think the timing of the release of these videotapes — which they’ve had, by their own admission, for months — is directly related to the release of a film that they’re scared about and they’re hoping people don’t go see,” Donziger said in a telephone interview.

    Kent Robertson, a spokesman for Chevron based in San Ramon, California, said the video was released last week because the company needed time to authenticate it, not because of the film’s opening.

    “The film is long on emotion and short on facts,” Robertson said by telephone.

    He said there was no documented proof of a link between oil-related pollution in the Ecuadorean jungle and diseases suffered by the plaintiffs and said rulings by the judge who recused himself should be annulled.

    As for the petroleum Styler described in the area, Robertson said, “If you’re seeing fresh oil today … how can that be the responsibility of a company that stopped operating in 1990?”

    The plaintiffs allege that Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, dumped billions of gallons of polluted water in the jungle for more than two decades before the company left Ecuador in the early 1990s. (Editing by Sandra Maler) © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE5885L020090909

  6. […] Chevron should pay $27 billion in compensation […]

  7. Ianeit George said

    [Delirious rambling. Edited: FEWW]

  8. Ianeit George said

    [Delirious comment. Edited: FEWW]

    [What are you on about , George?]

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