New Video Exposes Chevron's Environmental Crimes & Sordid Misconduct in Ecuador, Says Amazon Defense Coalition
NEW YORK, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chevron's massive environmental crimes and sordid misconduct in the world's longest-running oil-related lawsuit is exposed in a new video released by the Ecuadorians who recently won an $18 billion judgment against the oil giant.
The video reveals in graphic and shocking detail how Chevron intentionally contaminated the rainforest knowing it likely would cause death and destruction to thousands of people. From 1964 to 1990, the oil giant (operating under the Texaco brand) admitted that it deliberately dumped 16-18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into rivers and streams relied on by local inhabitants for their drinking water.
The wastewater included benzene, a known human carcinogen, as well as other toxic chemicals and heavy metals, according to evidence before the Ecuador court.
The video, "Chevron's Amazon Chernobyl," also shows how the oil giant in the 1970s and 1980s gouged over 900 unlined waste pits from Ecuador's jungle floor to store the oil and toxic water left after drilling. Today, the contents of these enormous pits continue to flow via Chevron's pipes into the soils and streams of the forest, poisoning residents and their food supply. See here for a photo of a typical pit.
In several compelling scenes, the video demonstrates how Chevron ignored pollution standards, manipulated evidence, caused harm to human health, tried to entrap a judge in a bribery scheme, and ultimately proved the legal claims of the rainforest communities with its own evidence.
The video also reveals how Chevron lied to both U.S. and Ecuador courts about a remediation that the company says releases it from any liability. Tests taken during the eight-year trial found that deadly toxins are as high and higher at the well sites Chevron claimed to have cleaned as those it did not.
Instead of properly remediating the sites, Chevron covered them with dirt. Local residents thought all the toxins had been removed and built homes nearby and on top of the contaminated pits.
"This video shows in devastating detail that what Chevron did in Ecuador continues to cause tremendous harm and suffering to thousands of people," said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the Ecuadorian communities.
"These people are invisible to Chevron CEO John Watson as he continues to play games with the law, bringing harm both to his company's shareholders and to the foreign policy interests of the United States in Latin America," said Hinton.
Despite multiple legal setbacks in the courts of Ecuador and the U.S., Chevron and its primary outside counsel Gibson Dunn & Crutcher continue to employ abusive and largely ineffective litigation tactics to evade complying with the law. See here and here.
A lead Chevron lawyer recently made the preposterous claim that the Ecuadorian victims of the oil giant's contamination are "irrelevant" to the court case that led to the $18 billion judgment against the company.
Doak Bishop, a Chevron lawyer from the American firm King & Spalding, said the following before a panel of international investment arbitrators on February 15th:
"The plaintiffs are really irrelevant. They always were irrelevant. There were never any real parties in interest in this case. The plaintiff's lawyers have no clients... There will be no prejudice to [the rainforest communities] or any individual by holding up enforcement of the judgment."
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post published over a dozen photos of Ecuadorians who have died or have severe medical problems resulting from Chevron's contamination. See here for photos, taken by Lou Dematteis.
According to evidence before the Ecuador court, the indigenous people of the rainforest are forced to drink water out of poisoned streams. The video shows a little girl using a stick to twirl a gob of oily waste like a ribbon of taffy. In other shots, water glistens with the sickly greens and blues of oil as people swim and wash.
Chevron, the local residents say on the video, told them the oil contained "vitamins and minerals" and was good for them.
"This powerful film needs to be seen so the world can fully understand the depths of Chevron's depravity when it comes to environmental protection," said Hinton. "Governments the world over can watch this video to better understand the enormous risks to their citizens of doing business with Chevron."
SOURCE Amazon Defense Coalition