Chevron Amazon polluters fined

This video says about itself:

28 May 2008

Ten years ago, on May 28, 1998, Nigerian security forces hired, paid for and “closely supervised” by Chevron opened fire on peaceful demonstrators on an off-shore barge in the oil-rich Niger Delta, killing two men and injuring at least two more.

On the anniversary of the attack, one of the injured, Larry Bowoto, speaks out.

From Al Jazeera:

Chevron fined $8.6bn for pollution

Ecuador court asks US oil giant to pay damages for contaminating Amazon river while drilling for oil.

Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 05:39 GMT

A court in Ecuador has told oil giant Chevron Corp to pay $8.6bn in environmental damages, but the US company has termed the court order as “illegitimate and unenforceable” and said it would appeal.

An Ecuadorean judge ruled on Monday that Chevron was responsible for oil drilling contamination and also asked it to pay a legally mandated 10 per cent reparations fee.

The amount – $8.6bn plus the legally mandated 10 per cent reparations fee – is far below the $27.3bn award recommended by a court-appointed expert, but appeared to be the highest damage award ever issued in an environmental lawsuit. …

In case Chevron appeals, the lawsuit, which dates from drilling in the Andean nation during the 1970s and 1980s, could drag on.

“This ruling is an intermediate step. The appeals could go on for many years,” John van Schaik, an oil analyst at Medley Global Advisors in New York, said.

“But the fact that the Lago Agrio court ruled in favour of the plaintiffs sends a signal to oil companies that, more than ever, they need to be good corporate citizens,” he added. …

Plaintiffs disappointed

The plaintiffs were disappointed by the $8.6bn figure and gathered to discuss whether they would push for more money.

“Given the insignificance of the economic figure, we are going to analyse, discuss and decide if we will appeal this decision or not,” Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an emailed statement.

The plaintiffs, including indigenous groups, say their hunting and fishing grounds in Amazon river headwaters were decimated by toxic wastewater that also raised the cancer rate.

Residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region have said faulty drilling practices by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001, caused damage to wide areas of jungle and harmed indigenous people in the 1970s and 1980s.

Chevron’s shares traded 1.3 per cent higher to close at $96.95 as investors shrugged off news of the court ruling. The stock had been lifted by gains in crude oil, and analysts said a final verdict in the court case was likely years away.

Order hailed

Monday’s ruling was hailed by the environmentalist groups, Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network, as “proving overwhelmingly that the oil giant is responsible for billions gallons of highly toxic waste sludge deliberately dumped into local streams and rivers, which thousands depend on for drinking, bathing, and fishing”.

“It is time Chevron clean up its disastrous mess in Ecuador,” they said in a joint statement.

If upheld and enforced, Monday’s award would substantially exceed the $5bn originally awarded to victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. That jury award was later cut down to $507.5m by the US Supreme Court.

Other major environmental damage payments include the $470m paid by Union Carbide in 1989 to India’s government for the lethal gas leak five years earlier in Bhopal that killed an estimated 15,000 people.

BP set up a $20bn oil spill compensation fund after last year’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, of which about $3.4bn has been paid out.

See also here.

Greg Palast, Truthout: “Chevron Petroleum Corporation is attempting to slither out of an $8 billion judgment rendered yesterday by a trial court in Ecuador for cancer deaths, illnesses and destruction caused by its Texaco unit. I’ve been there, in Ecuador. I met the victims. They didn’t lose their shrimp boats; they lost their kids. Emergildo Criollo, chief of the Cofan natives of the Amazon, told me about his three-year-old. ‘He went swimming, then began vomiting blood.’ Then he died. And, then, I met Chevron-Texaco’s lawyers. When I showed Texaco lawyer Rodrigo Perez the epidemiological studies tracing childhood cancers to their oil, he sneered and said, ‘And it’s the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States, in Europe, in Quito?'”: here.

New documents uncovered in the ongoing legal battle over Chevron/Texaco’s destruction of the Ecuadorian rainforest show that, while Chevron recently labeled the guilty verdict and $18 billion fine leveled against its Texaco unit by an Ecuadorian court as “illegitimate and unenforceable,” it was in fact the oil company that lobbied fiercely to have the case moved out of U.S. courts to the Ecuadorian justice system: here.

This video is called Amazon Rain Forest (Ecuador).

Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, Truthout: “Residents who live along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, all the way from Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, to well into western Florida, continue to tell me of acute symptoms they attribute to ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals being released from BP’s crude oil and the toxic Corexit dispersants used to sink it. Shirley Tillman from Pass Christian, Mississippi, and former BP Vessels of Opportunity oil cleanup worker wrote me recently: ‘You can’t even go to the store without seeing sick people! You can hear them talking to people and they think they have the flu or a virus. I saw a girl that works at a local store yesterday that had to leave work because she was so sick! Others, throughout the entire store were hacking & coughing. It’s crazy that this has been allowed to happen to all of us!'”: here.

Maquipucuna cloud forest in Ecuador yields new species of yeast: here.

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12 thoughts on “Chevron Amazon polluters fined

  1. * FEBRUARY 18, 2011, 7:51 A.M. ET

    Norway, Sweden Work to Contain Oil Spill


    STOCKHOLM—The coast guards of Norway and Sweden are co-operating to handle a large oil spill that has reached the coast of Fredrikstad, southern Norway, after Icelandic container vessel Godafoss ran aground late Thursday.

    Ragnhild Bussqvist, duty officer at Kustbevakningen, the Swedish coastguard, told Dow Jones Newswires one of its aircraft had detected a 2.5-kilometer oil stain in the area.

    Johan Marius Ly, emergency department director at Kystverket, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, said some oil had hit the shoreline near the accident location, but that most of the spill was drifting away from land.

    The grounding of the Godafoss container ship occurred Thursday evening, off the islands of Hvaler near the Swedish border, some 100 meters from the shoreline. The location is close to Outer Hvaler natural park, which consists of muddy seabeds and rocky seabottoms with a rich coral underwater ecosystem.

    “Currently the oil has drifted into the area of the natural park,” Mr. Ly said.

    Mr. Kystverket said Godafoss is carrying around 800 metric tons of heavy fuel oil, equivalent to approximately 204,800 gallons. Coast guards have concluded there are holes in two of the ship’s fuel tanks.

    “We haven’t yet been able to evaluate the full extent of the spill,” said Mr. Ly.

    With the vessel on Norwegian waters, the NCA is responsible for managing the spill response operation. It has sent two tugboats, an oil spill response vessel and two coastguard vessels to the location. The Swedish coast guard has sent an oil spill response vessel, which is currently collecting leaked heavy oil from the waters.

    The Godafoss container vessel is registered in Antigua and Barbuda and is part of the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip – CTG AS fleet. It was on its way from Fredrikstad, Norway to Helsingborg, southern Sweden. Eimskip wasn’t immediately available to comment.

    It isn’t yet clear what caused the vessel to run aground. None of the 14 crew members was hurt in the accident.


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