Chevron Found Guilty in 18 Year Rainforest Pollution Case

Nathan Crites-Herren
The Paw Print

In an impressive 18 year long legal battle with the Texaco Inc. Chevron, earlier this year residents of Ecuador’s rainforest won a closely monitored environmental case that finds the oil conglomerate guilty of rainforest pollution.  Excessive amounts of toxic petroleum sludge that was found in the rain forest region’s rivers and soil was identified by Ecuadorian scientists to have come from Chevron refining plants and drilling operations in the area.
Ecuadorian prosecutors had originally asked for 27 billion dollars in damages to be awarded to the affected rain forest communities, but the Ecuadorian courts decided to order Chevron to pay a fraction of the original amount, 8 billion dollars.
Chevron quickly dismissed the Ecuadorian court ruling as “illegitimate,” and quickly filed a counter lawsuit early this month in U.S. Federal court suing the Ecuadorian government.  According to a Chevron press release, “The intent of the misconduct has been to extort a multi-billion dollar payment from Chevron through fabricated evidence and a campaign to incite public outrage.”
Discovery of the oil pollutants in early 1993 sparked the litigation process against the oil conglomerate. Although Ecuadorian and international scientists as well as environmental protection groups all point the finger at Chevron the company still denies any wrong doing on their part.  “We have yet to see any convincing evidence from our scientists that the oil sludge found in the Ecuadorian rainforest is related to our refining pants and drilling operations in the area.”
Ecuador’s main prosecuting attorney in the case, Pablo Fajardo said the recent court ruling is a landmark decision that will open the door for other Latin American countries to seek justice for environmental grievances.  “Our battle for justice against Chevron has been a long and tedious process, but one that has resulted in victory for the Ecuadorian people.”
Chevron’s counter suit was filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, known as RICO.  Although the act was meant to combat mafia intimidation of business, RICO also allows for private individuals and companies to file civil suits if the believe they have been the victim of criminal organizations.
Despite Chevrons efforts to reverse Ecuador’s court decision, the U.S. Federal courthouse denied Chevrons request to trial, saying that the evidence to effectively prosecute was lacking under the RICO statute.  Spokesperson for the Ecuadorian legal team, Karen Hinton said the most recent decision by the U.S. courts proves that Chevron will not be able to use their influence and legal intimidation to cover-up the truth about what has been occurring for the past decade.
The Ecuadorian legal team, responsible for originally bringing the case to court is happy about the U.S. Federal court’s decision, but is prepared to hold Chevron accountable for the damages they say the company has caused.  “We expect Chevron to appeal the Federal Court decision, and we will be ready when they do,” said Hinton.
Following Hinton’s statement, Chevron released a statement saying it would appeal the Federal Courts decision, possibly brining the trial to the Supreme Court. “Chevron will not allow the Ecuadorian courts to have sole judgment in this matter; we need a fair trial that brings all the facts to light.” is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet