Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network just announced a major victory for the Amazon rainforest. An Ecuadorean judge today found Chevron guilty of one of the largest environmental crimes in history and ordered the company to pay a whopping $8 billion to clean up its damage in the Amazon.
Chevron immediately issued a statement condemning the judgement as "ilegitimate and unenforceable" and announced plans to appeal. This ruling clearly has Chevron riled up, as the statement suggests the ruling is "the product of fraud" and included this ominous line: "Chevron intends to see that the perpetrators of this fraud are held accountable for their misconduct."
Chevron apparently fails to see the irony of the phrase "held accountable for their misconduct" since today was a major slapdown of the company's destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
As the L.A. Times notes in its piece about the verdict,
"Residents of Ecuador's Amazon region have said that 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."
Head over to The Understory blog of the Rainforest Action Network for more details.
AmazonWatch and Rainforest Action Network have released the following statement in response to the verdict:
“As of today, Chevron’s guilt for extensive oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest is official. It is time Chevron takes responsibility for these environmental and public health damages, which they have fought for the past 18 years.
“Today’s ruling in Ecuador against Chevron proves 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.
“Chevron has spent the last 18 years waging unprecedented public relations and lobbying campaigns to avoid cleaning up the environmental and public health catastrophe it left in the Amazon rainforest. Today’s guilty verdict sends a loud and clear message: It is time Chevron clean up its disastrous mess in Ecuador.
“Today’s case is historic and unprecedented. It is the first time Indigenous people have sued a multinational corporation in the country where the crime was committed and won.
“Today’s historic ruling against Chevron is a testament to the strength of the Ecuadorian people who have spent 18 years bringing Chevron to justice while suffering the effects of the company’s extensive oil contamination.”