Updates on Chevron-Ecuador Controversy

I’ve already covered the history of the Chevron-Ecuador court case and the initial news of the guilty verdict given to Chevron in Ecuador in depth on here. There are some more details that have come out that I wanted to update our dedicated readers on now:

  • In addition to ruling that Chevron must pay $8.6 billion to cover damages caused, it also ruled that it would have to pay “an additional $8.6 billion in punitive damages if Chevron fails to publicly apologize for its wrongdoing within 15 days.” (Hmm… expectation that Chevron would continue to deny its responsibility towards Ecuadorians?)
  • This ruling “ranks second in environmental damage cases behind the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility for the BP Gulf spill and is the first time an American company has been held accountable in foreign courts for environmental crimes abroad.”
  • Of course, Chevron’s opinion of Ecuador courts (which it probably thought it could buy initially) has changed dramatically since it got the case moved from the U.S. to Ecuador. Here’s more on that from Amazon Watch as well: “The closely watched litigation was filed in 1993 in US federal court and transferred to Ecuador at Chevron’s request. During its arguments to move the action to Ecuador, the company filed 14 expert affidavits praising Ecuador’s courts as fair and adequate, although in recent months—as the evidence turned against it—Chevron has attacked the court process, claiming it is biased.”
  • This may be the 2nd-biggest environmental damage ruling in world history, but it’s not enough according to Ecuadorian farmers (and I would agree). So, in addition to Chevron appealing (and saying it will never pay, no matter what any court finds), these Ecuadorian farmers are also going to appeal in a provincial court. “It’s not fair to us because the tribes have suffered a lot,” plaintiff Justino Piaguaje said of Monday’s ruling by Sucumbios provincial court. “Our families have died, and our rivers have deteriorated.” The appeal is expected to be made today.
  • The money awarded by the court in this landmark decision would not go to the plaintiffs or make them rich, it would be dedicated to cleaning up the mess this oil giant left in their backyards and waterways. “Zambrano’s ruling specifies the damages should be put in a trust fund managed by an independent body. The money would not be given directly to the 40 plaintiffs representing the affected region’s Indian communities. Instead it would be used to clean up the environment and pay for healthcare.”

And here’s an interview with Amazon Watch’s Andrew Miller, if you prefer that medium:

That’s it for now. But stay tuned.

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Photo Credit: Rainforest Action Network

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

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