by Staff Writers
Quito (AFP) Jan 4, 2012
Ecuadoran claimants Wednesday celebrated a court ruling that upheld a record $9.5 billion dollar judgment against Chevron for environmental damage to the Amazon rainforest.
"Justice shone despite all the money that Chevron put up to overturn the judgment against it," said Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer who represents some 30,000 residents of the region in the suit against the US oil giant.
A Chevron spokesman said in an email, meanwhile, that the company's lawyers were analyzing the ruling by a regional court in Sucumbios province on Tuesday and had not yet decided whether to appeal the decision.
Under the decision, Chevron must make a public apology to the victims or pay double the amount of the judgment for environmental damage allegedly caused by oil operations in the Ecuadoran jungle between 1964 and 1990 by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.
The judgment -- $8.64 billion plus a 10 percent fine -- is the highest ever against an oil company for environmental damage.
In a statement Monday, Chevron said it was pursuing efforts at an international tribunal and in the US courts to prevent enforcement of the ruling.
The decision "is another glaring example of the politicization and corruption of Ecuador's judiciary that has plagued this fraudulent case from the start," Chevron said, claiming that the judgment was "illegitimate" and "procured through a corrupt and fraudulent scheme."
Chevron "does not believe that the Ecuador ruling is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law. The company will continue to seek to hold accountable the perpetrators of this fraud."
The lawsuit on behalf of Ecuadoran Amazon communities was originally filed in New York in 1993.
"As long as the lawsuit drags on, more people will die of cancer and leukemia. The prudent thing would be to begin the environmental restoration as soon as possible to prevent there being more victims," said Fajardo.
Fajardo claims there has been a high rate of cancer of various kinds over the past 15 years among people affected by the oil company's operations.
He said inhabitants of Ecuador's Amazon region expect the physical and chemical restoration of the areas that were contaminated by the extraction of crude oil.
"They have to clean up the ground, the water sources," he said, adding that the claimants would not get everything they ask for, such as compensation for loss of livestock and crops.
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BP sues Halliburton for full cost of Gulf disaster
Washington (AFP) Jan 3, 2012
British oil giant BP is pushing US energy services firm Halliburton to pay for all the costs BP incurred in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in US history. In a US federal court filing, BP said that it was seeking full repayment of damages from Halliburton, alleging it fraudulently putting a defective cement seal on a deepwater well, causing a deadly explos ... read more
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