Ecuador People Take Action Against Texaco/Chevron Pollution

By B. McPherson

Members of the Cofan indigenous people are joining in a multibillion dollar lawsuit against the Texaco oil company, now sold to Chevron to force clean up of highly polluted land. When Texaco was drilling for oil in the Ecuador rain forest, they dumped at least 18 billion gallons of run off onto local lands. Pits designed to sequester toxic sludge were left unlined and uncovered. Local rivers, sources of drinking water and food became poisoned.
When Chevron took over Texaco in 2001 they inherited the problems. A legal action taken against them in the US failed. The new lawsuit is being progressed in Ecuador.
Steven Donziger, acting as legal counsel for the Cofan tribe is quoted in Al Jazeera:

Texaco created a system where they dumped literally billions of gallons of toxic waste water", said Steven Donziger, legal counsel.
Donziger, who represents the plaintiffs, says the dumping saved the company billions of dollars in operating costs.Al Jazeera

On the other hand the legal representative for Chevron Ricardo Reis Varga, has stated that his company has done everything that it is required to do. Chevron is maintaining a web site explaining their side of the issue.

The conflict promises to continue. An organisation ChevronToxico also maintains a web site castigating Chevron for its actions, which include allegations of attempted bribery of a judge.

This ongoing conflict over who is responsible for pollution resulting from oil exploration and extraction is likely to remain unsettled in the near future considering the billions of dollars at play here.

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