The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Expert Says Chevron Should Pay $27 Billion For Environmental Damage In Ecuador

Chevron says PetroEcuador, which took over the project in 1990, is responsible for the damage.

QUITO -- A geologist told an Ecuadorian court that U.S. oil company Chevron should pay $27 billion in compensation for environmental damage in the country, the Amazon Defense Front, or FDA, said.

The new figure that was presented by expert Richard Cabrera was arrived at after a "broadening" of the initial report he issued in April, in which he determined that the environmental damage caused by Texaco - which Chevron bought in 2001 - totaled $16 billion, the FDA said.

According to the FDA, which was formed in the mid-1990s to support the class-action lawsuit, Cabrera "reconsidered several aspects that had been ignored" in the initial report.

Chevron, meanwhile, rejected the revised figure and said it was not based any new evidence. The oil company also reiterated its critique of the April report and said that that document contained "invented, uncorroborated" damages.

The conclusions of the first report are absolutely false, said Chevron, which added that the second damage estimate "confirms the lack of impartiality and credibility" of the expert.

Some 30,000 Amazon Indians and peasants filed a lawsuit in a New York court against Texaco in the early 1990s, accusing the company of contaminating the ecosystem by dumping some 18 billion gallons of toxic waste from oil-drilling operations, damaging the health of area residents and causing the disappearance of indigenous peoples during the close to 30 years it operated in Ecuador.

The New York court ruled in 2003 that the case should be tried in Ecuador.

Pablo Fajardo, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said that in spite of the "rectifications" contained in the second report the new figure of $27 billion "still is low in comparison to the damage caused, the lives lost, the cultures that disappeared and the ecosystem that was devastated."

But the U.S. oil firm said in its statement that "Cabrera's work was monitored, supported and conducted by the plaintiffs" and that "they paid more than $200,000 to fund his 'independent' findings."

Chevron announced that it will submit its own report to the court rejecting the conclusions made by Cabrera, whom it accuses of carrying out his research jointly with representatives from the Amazon Defense Front, adding that that cooperation was completely "illegal."

Texaco operated in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990 and Chevron says that in 1998 it was released from any liability for damage by the Ecuadorian government after carrying out what it says was an adequate clean-up operation.

Chevron accuses state oil company Petroecuador, which took over Texaco's operations after it left the country in 1990, of responsibility for the environmental damage.

The Ecuadorian court hearing the suit - based in the Amazon city of Nueva Loja - is expected to render a verdict next year. EFE

No comments:

Post a Comment