25 Apr 2010

Chevron: Ecuador update

Chevron are one of those companies that really are not so great - my blog has in the past covered stories like their activities in Burma - see for example here. Most recently I noted a petition about their activities in Ecuador - see here - and here at The Chevron Pit blog for latest news items on this issue (photo left taken from that site).

I have been getting their regular news updates and have to say it has been a little shocking to see the reports - a couple of recent items stand out...

Firstly that Chevron has told the highly respected Columbia Journalism Review a flat-out lie about an oil well site in Ecuador and the harmful level of contamination found at the site’s oil pit, featured in a 60 Minutes piece that aired almost a year ago. See more here. It seems extraordinary that Chevron said that soil tests turned up no contamination at a site, yet the court documents clearly show this to be false. Tests from the plaintiffs revealed illegal levels of toxins at over 400 times the Ecuador legal limit of 1,000 parts per million of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons and over 4,000 times the legal limit as allowed in most states in the United States (about 100 ppm of TPH). Worse still because Texaco said it cleaned the pits, people living in the area thought they were cleaned so they built homes directly on top of toxic waste dumps.

Secondly Chevron is remaining silent about charges it tampered with evidence in the environmental lawsuit in Ecuador - however it has come to light that the Chevron contractor who blew the whistle on the company is getting paid thousands of dollars by Chevron in what looks like an apparent attempt to keep him quiet.

Amazingly it seems that Diego Borja, an Ecuadorian who collected soil and water samples for Chevron in the environmental trial, was captured on audiotapes demanding compensation for assisting the company in a number of activities to help it avoid prosecution and discredit the Ecuadorian courts, the judge and the plaintiffs. Borja said Chevron executives in San Ramon promised him a “business partner(ship)” with Chevron that would pay off “like a big brass ring.”

Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the Amazon Defense Coalition, who I've had emails from said: “Chevron has a duty to disclose Borja’s evidence of corruption and all payments the oil giant has made to him.”

I give a big thank you to all those working for justice on this issue - such companies must not be allowed to get away with this. See a short film with more about what Chevron are up to: http://chevrontoxico.com/


Philip Booth said...

Earlier today, at a press conference in Bangkok, a global "Call for Total, Chevron, and PTTEP to Practice Revenue Transparency in Burma (Myanmar)" was issued, asking the Yadana companies to promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in Burma by voluntarily publishing over 18 years of payments to the Burmese military regime.

The statement was endorsed by EarthRights International and over 160 non-governmental organizations, labor unions, investment firms, scholars, and policy leaders, including the former Prime Minister of Norway and the former President of Ireland. These prominent groups and individuals are calling on the Yadana companies to assist the people of Burma in holding their government accountable for the revenues that the government receives on their behalf.

Philip Booth said...

1st June: Tragic BP Gulf Spill Casts Light on Chevron Disaster in Ecuador - While BP Is Largest Spill In U.S., Chevron’s Ecuador Disaster Is Largest In World

Chevron Admits Dumping at Least 16 Billion Gallons of Toxic Waste into Rainforest

For the latest developments, see www.chevrontoxico.com.