Between 1964 and 1990, Texaco drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon and left an outrageous mess, dumping 18.5 billion gallons of toxic sludge and wastewater into local waterways. Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001, was ordered by an Ecuadorian judge in 2011 to pay $19 billion for the damage. Chevron said, to paraphrase, “Eff you,” and has been fighting the judgment ever since.
It’s little wonder, then, that Ecuador’s president is calling for a boycott of Chevron. In launching the “Chevron’s Dirty Hand” campaign last week, President Rafael Correa visited a rainforest area left polluted by the company, plunged his hand into a pool of oil, and held it up for members of the media to photograph.
A nice photo op, but Chevron is still winning the war.
Here are the latest legal developments from ABC News:
Plaintiffs’ hopes for collecting a $19 billion judgment awarded by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron Corp. for oil contamination in the Amazon have suffered another potential setback.
A three-judge international arbitration panel in The Hague has ruled that an agreement signed in 1995 by Texaco Corp., which Chevron later purchased, released the oil giant from financial responsibility from any claims of “collective damage.”
However, the interim ruling Tuesday by the Permanent Court of Arbitration left open the possibility that Chevron could still be liable for damages incurred by individuals.
And the U.S. government appears to be doing its part to help Chevron avoid bad PR. From PressTV:
Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry says the US has denied visas to a delegation, which was to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York to present testimony against oil giant Chevron.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry announced that the American Embassy in Quito returned the visas for five Ecuadorian nationals “without any explanation.”
The delegation was scheduled to give testimony during a special event at the UN regarding the environmental impact of the oil giant’s operations in the Ecuadoran region of the Amazon forest.