In 2001 Chevron purchased Texaco who had been under investigation in Ecuador for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest waterways during their oil drilling. This is what began the "largest environmental class action lawsuit in history." These waterways which were a lifeline for five ingenious groups in the Amazon were forced out of their traditional lifestyle and an ingenious peoples the Tetetes have completely disappeared. This does not account for the thousands of animals who also survived off this waterways whom have now died off. Texaco avoided trail in the U.S. by claiming that Ecuador's legal system would be sufficient. The trial is still underway.
Following in information from the TexacoToxico website that is so astonishing it could not be summarized:
Evidence and Damages
- The court-appointed expert and a team of 14 scientists and technical experts, in a 4,000 page report that analyzed all the evidence in the trial, including 62,000 sampling results, assessed damages between $18 billion and $27 billion. A final decision on liability and damages is expected in 2009.
- The court expert found that thousands of soil and water samples tested at independent laboratories confirm extensive toxic contamination at 100% of the 94 former Texaco well sites inspected during the trial. Various independent sources, including the findings of the court-appointed expert and technical teams from both sides confirm the contamination.
- As a matter of law, Chevron is legally responsible for the full adverse impact caused by its flawed system of oil extraction while it was operator (from 1964 to 1990), and by any adverse impacts caused by its successor operators (such as state-owned PetroEcuador) using that same system. Under the law, an operator cannot absolve itself of responsibility by knowingly abandoning a nuisance.
The Environmental Impact
- Chevron has admitted that Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, abandoned more than 900 waste pits, burned millions of cubic meters of gases with no controls, and spilled more than 17 million gallons of oildue to pipeline ruptures.
- Texaco also dumped millions of gallons of oil waste along dirt roads, never budgeted for pipeline maintenance, and spent no money on environmental clean-up or health care for the local population. The company never conducted a single health evaluation or environmental impact study while it was the operator of the concession.
- Experts estimate the damage is 30 times larger than that of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Some call the area the “Amazon Chernobyl.”
- Texaco’s practices in Ecuador violated oil industry operating procedures dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. The company’s own environmental consultants found oilfield practices used by Texaco that were clearly sub-standard.
Justicia Now! is a documentary about Chevron Texaco's toxic legacy in the Northern Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest - and a courageous group of people called Los Afectados (The Affected Ones) who are seeking justice for the ensuing cancer, sickness and death in the largest environmental class action lawsuit in history.
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Check out more @ Understanding Cheveron's "Amazon Chernobyl"
Another (really good) documentary @ Chevron Toxico