Chevron found guilty in Amazon pollution case
Added under Environment
On Monday, after 17 years of intense legal battle, Chevron, the second largest oil company in the United States, was found guilty by Ecuadorian courts for massive environmental contamination of the Amazon and was ordered to pay a fine of $9 billion in damages. This represents the largest ever judgment against a U.S company for environmental contamination and marks the first time that indigenous and farmer communities have successfully won a judgment in foreign courts against an American company for environmental crimes abroad.
From 1964 to 1990 Chevron (formerly Texaco) operated a large oil concession in the northeastern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, reaping billions of dollars in profits before pulling out of Ecuador in 1992.
Chevron has admitted during the long-running trial in both US and Ecuadorian courts that it created a system of oil extraction that led to the deliberate discharge of approximately 18 billion gallons of chemical-laden "water of formation" into the streams and rivers of Ecuador's Amazon, home to six indigenous groups.
Over the course of more than two decades of operations, Chevron abandoned more than 900 unlined waste pits gouged out of the jungle floor that leech toxins into soils and streams; contaminated the air by burning the waste pits; dumped oil along roads; and spilled millions of gallons of pure crude from ruptured pipelines. Internal company documents demonstrate that Chevron officials ordered field workers to destroy records of oil spills. The company refused to develop an environmental response plan or pipeline maintenance program, and Chevron never conducted a single health evaluation or environmental impact study despite the obvious harm it was causing.
Sources: San Francisco Chronicle
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