Researched by Chelsea Davis
While profits hit a record high, oil giant Chevron lobbied the US Congress to punish Ecuador with loss of trade preferences if Ecuador’s government refused to quash the suit brought against Chevron by five indigenous tribes and residents of 80 rainforest communities for having caused what experts believe could be the largest oil-related disaster in history. In an effort to circumvent liability, a large team of Chevron lobbyists headed by Washington insiders worked for months to interfere in the foreign affairs of the US government. A Chevron spokesperson was quoted in summing up the company’s approach to the Ecuador case, “We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this.” Chevron does not deny that Texaco (now Chevron) dumped 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways and abandoned over 900 unlined waste pits in this formerly pristine region between 1964 and 1990, in violation of industry standards and US law. Plaintiffs are claiming $7 -16 billion in damages based partly on estimates of more than 1,400 oil pollution-caused cancer deaths. Chevron lawyers face separate charges of fraud and corruption in Ecuador regarding the court-ordered clean up of these sites.
“In Effort to Escape Liability for Toxic Pollution in Amazon, Oil Giant Chevron Lobbies Bush Administration to Punish Ecuador” Earth Rights International, 8/1/08
“Chevron Loses Major Lobbying Battle In Congress Over Ecuador Trade” Amazon Defense Coalition, Texicotoxico.org, 10/3/08