A court in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has ordered the seizure of Chevron’s assets in an effort to force the company to pay a $19 billion dollar penalty for its involvement in polluting the Amazon in Ecuador. An initial lawsuit was filed in 1993, and the people of the region have been battling the company in court ever since. Chevron merged with another American oil company, Texaco, in 2001, whose actions are the original source of offense. Texaco has admitted to dumping more than 16 billion gallons of toxic “water of formation” into streams and rivers, which are all part of the Amazon in Ecuador. These waterways are the sources of drinking water for indigenous tribes people and farmers who live in the area and have forced many to become ill. To make matters worse, approximately 9,000 local people are expected to contract cancer from the 900 open- air toxic waste sites that still cover the area, unless it is cleaned up.
Chevron has been trying many different methods to defeat the ruling, such as appealing the Ecuadorian fine in U.S. courts. The company has also filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against the plaintiffs for fraud, which will be heard in October 2013. Thus far, U.S. courts have not been very sympathetic, and even refused to hear an appeal to block the Ecuadorian judgment last month. If the Buenos Aires ruling is enforced, Chevron may forfeit up to $2 billion of assets in Argentina, as well as lose approximately $600 million per year from its ongoing operations in that country.
Title: “Argentina Court Freezes Chevron’s Assets: Penalty for Polluting the Amazon in Ecuador”
Author: Pratap Chatterjee
Publication: Global Research, November 13, 2012.
Researcher: Tanya Trimble, Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Elaine Wellin, PhD. Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University