Chevron's corporate offices in Houston, Texas.
Ecuador, Today in Latin America

Chevron Fined For Environmental Damage By Ecuadorean Court

February 15, 2011 By Staff

Chevron's corporate offices in Houston, Texas.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Chevron Corp. will appeal an Ecuadorean court’s order on Monday to pay more than $8 billion dollars for decades of environmental damage.

The lawsuit accuses Texaco, the oil company which merged with Chevron in 2001, of dumping approximately 18 billion gallons of toxic material into the Ecuadorean Amazon between 1972 and 1992.  The case on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadoreans says that water and soil contamination has destroyed parts of the rainforest and caused higher cancer rates among the local population.

According to the BBC, Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, called the court ruling “a triumph of justice over Chevron’s crime and economic power”.

Fajardo added, “This is an important step but we’re going to appeal this sentence because we think that the damages awarded are not enough considering the environmental damage caused by Chevron here in Ecuador.”

Chevron will fight the ruling as well, which it called “illegitimate and unenforceable” in a public statement.  Bloomberg reported that Chevron’s market shares underperformed somewhat on Monday following the ruling. According to Bloomberg, Chevron’s $195 billion market valuation is more than three times the size of Ecuador’s annual economic output and that the fine may be unenforceable.

The case, Maria Aguinda v Chevron, went to trial in Ecuador in 2003 after a decade in U.S. courts.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

  • A small passenger plane crashed Monday into a hill outside the capital of Honduras, killing all 14 people aboard, officials said.
  • The Government of El Salvador and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States ( OAS ) today signed an agreement for the XIX Inter-American Travel Congress that will take place on September 29 and 30, 2011, in San Salvador.

Andes

  • A proposed law that would increase government control of housing development in Venezuela, regulating the cost and building schedule for new construction as well as sales prices and rents, is expected to be ready for official review by the end of February, according to a government website.
  • Colombian soldiers have for the first time seized a fully submersible drug-smuggling submarine capable of reaching the coast of Mexico, authorities announced Monday.
  • Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels have freed a policeman they had been holding hostage since December 2010, marking the fourth such release since the group promised to free at least five hostages late last year, officials confirmed early Monday.
  • Peru is facing growing competition from China for its share of the global copper ore market, which is at the risk of shrinking amid aggressive mining and marketing by East Asia’s economic giant.

Southern Cone

Image: jonathan mcintosh @ Flickr.

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