Chevron loses attempt to reduce payment in suit by Amazon rainforest natives
October 8, 2008
Chevron lost its attempt to force arbitration in a case in which it could be liable for billions of dollars to pay for cleaning up damages to the Amazon rainforest in eastern Ecuador.
According to the Associated Press, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld a lower court’s June 2007 decision rejecting Chevron’s attempt to seek arbitration which the oil giant hoped would force the Ecuadorean to help pay for clean up costs.
The long-running suit alleges that Texaco — acquired by Chevron in 2001 — dumped 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways from 1964 to 1990, harming local indigenous communities and damaging the environment in one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. The oil company built roughly 1000 unlined open-air waste pits that have been leeching toxins into the soil and groundwater for decades.
The set back for Chevron comes after a July report revealed that the oil firm has hired lobbyists to persuade the Bush administration and Congress to threaten the use of trade sanctions against Ecuador to get it off the hook for damages. A March ruling forced Chevron to disclose its potential liability in the suit to shareholders. The firm would have to pay $7.2-16.3 billion in damages if the judge accepts an assessment by a court-appointed special master.