Chevron’s Sham Remediation in Ecuador: Toxic Oil Pits Continue to Contaminate
November 14, 2014 - Picnic Time
Chevron, Chevron Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow
With Polluted Soil Toxic Water
And Wealthy Lawyers All In A Row
During a ancestral decay conference opposite Chevron in Ecuador, a association mostly took reporters to a supposed “remediated” oil pits to infer that a prototype Texaco spotless a “share” of one of a world’s misfortune environmental disasters, if not a worst.
Chevron’s well-heeled lawyers would infrequently arrange for a good cruise nearby a pits to uncover reporters how immature a gardens had grown in a Amazon rainforest given Texaco sealed a 1995 agreement with a Government of Ecuador to remediate poisonous pits.
But sneaking underneath a foliage was and is pristine wanton churned into a mud and subterraneous celebration H2O and laced with carcinogens, such as benzene and cadmium.
Six opposite sets of tests have shown that Texaco usually dumped mud on tip of a pits to censor a contamination, not purify it.
And, 8 Ecuador judges and dual U.S. judges who’ve listened justification associated to a 22-year-old lawsuit have possibly abandoned a remediation agreement, thrown it out or settled it had no consequence in Chevron’s defense.
Ignoring a evidence, a oil hulk continues to surveillance a agreement as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card, and U.S. reporters continue to use it in their stories as a legitimate response to a Ecuadorians’ charges, while a “remediated” pits continue to free-loader dangerous toxins into a mud and H2O that inland peoples and rainforest villagers count on for sustenance.
The decay of indigenous’ ancestral homelands and a disease and genocide left behind is distinct anything we have ever seen. And, even nonetheless Ecuador’s Supreme Court has inspected a $9.5 billion visualisation opposite a oil giant, Chevron refuses to pay, arguing a agreement expelled it from any liability.
So, let’s demeanour a closer demeanour during a agreement and a remediation itself:
Travel to any of a pits that Texaco resolved to purify and puncture a few feet underneath a belligerent and we will find oil.
How does Chevron explain this? With classical Chevron chutzpah.
The association maintains that in a passed of night rainforest villagers “spike” a jungle building with oil by digging holes during a pits, pouring uninformed oil into them and covering them adult with mud and foliage so they can lapse a subsequent day with a caller to infer Chevron is fibbing about a remediation.
With a true face, Chevron orator James Craig peddles this vast story to reporters, including this Miami Herald reporter:
“…Moncayo (an Ecuadorian) plunges his auger into a ground. Within a few inches a mud gives off a sharp fragrance of petroleum. Within a few feet a mud glistens with oil residue. When a few handfuls of a mud are forsaken into a bucket of water, a thick oil-slick coats a surface.
“‘This is their (Chevron’s) remediation effort,’ Moncayo says. ‘They’re no improved than animals.’
“The (Ecuadorians) contend it’s reason that Chevron lied about a cleanup and afterwards got agreeable supervision officials to sign-off on a trashy work.
“Chevron spokesman…James Craig, pronounced it’s not startling to find degraded wanton during a site. It competence be naturally occurring, Moncayo competence have dug outward a bounds of a remediation area, or the plaintiffs competence have peaked a belligerent with oil (emphasis added) to disprove Chevron, he said.
“‘Even if we do find hydrocarbons in a ground, it doesn’t meant that they’re a risk to people’s health or a environment,’ Craig said.”
Craig’s reason would be waggish if a emanate of remediation wasn’t so pivotal to a outcome of a lawsuit battle, being fought now in countries where Chevron’s resources can be seized as remuneration for a judgment. (Chevron has few resources in Ecuador.)
For a many part, Chevron doesn’t brawl a contamination. One of a internal lawyers, Rodrigo Perez Pallares, even certified a association dumped 15 billion gallons of poisonous waste into waterways.
In further to intentionally transfer poisonous H2O into streams, Texaco (Chevron bought Texaco in 2001) also built over 900 huge, unlined rubbish pits to henceforth store pristine wanton oil and wastewater laced with carcinogens that are a byproduct of a drilling process.
Instead Chevron’s army of lawyers argues that Texaco cut a understanding with a Government of Ecuador to purify a tiny commission (162 of 900 or so) of a oil pits in sell for shield from destiny lawsuits.
Yet even on cursory examination, Chevron’s supposed “release” is not even tighten to what a association claims.
The agreement, negotiated after a Ecuadorians filed their strange lawsuit in a U.S. in 1993, expelled Texaco usually opposite supervision claims of contamination. It specifically forged out any claims hold by individuals, such as a Ecuadorians’. A Memorandum of Understanding between Texaco and Ecuador’s government, sealed in 1994, settled clearly that third-party private claims should not be “prejudiced” by a agreement.
From 1995 to 1998, Texaco conducted a feign cleanup — or cover-up, if we will. During a same time, Texaco’s lawyers waved a remediation agreement in front of a U.S. sovereign court, conference a decay box in New York. But a American decider took no note of it, given that not even Texaco argued during a time that it trumped a claims of private adults that were tentative opposite a association in a lawsuit.
Later, another sovereign decider also hold onto Chevron’s subterfuge, in a associated arbitral move that finished adult in U.S. sovereign court.
U.S. Judge Leonard Sand analyzed a “release” agreement and, for all unsentimental purposes, pronounced it had zero to do with a Ecuadorians’ claims.
The schooled Judge Sand concluded:
“…it would be intensely formidable for [Chevron] to settle that claims nominally brought by third parties in a Lago Agrio lawsuit were lonesome by a 1995 and 1998 Agreements between Texaco and Ecuador: it is rarely doubtful that a allotment entered into while (the case) was tentative would have neglected to discuss a third-party claims being contemporaneously finished … if it had been dictated to recover those claims or to emanate an requirement to recompense opposite them.” (Republic of Ecuador v. ChevronTexaco Corp., 376 F. Supp. 2d 334, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).
Fearful that Judge Sand would display a recover agreement for what it was, Chevron simply pulled a lawsuit behind and finished a case.
While Chevron ran for a hills to equivocate Judge Sand, it assured sovereign Judge Jed Rakoff that a underlying claims box should be attempted in Ecuador rather than in a U.S. To get a box eliminated to Ecuador, a association filed no fewer than 14 sworn affidavits praising Ecuador’s legal complement as “independent” and “fair”. In 2003, per Chevron’s ask and Judge Rakoff’s order, a villagers re-filed their lawsuit in Ecuador.
By 2013, after an strenuous conference that constructed 105 consultant reports documenting Chevron’s pollution, 3 layers of Ecuador’s courts — trial, appellate, and Supreme Court — had ruled opposite a company. No fewer than 8 appellate judges hold Chevron obliged for a decay and ruled that a 1995 remediation agreement did not request to a private claims in a box and so was but consequence as a defense.
Even nonetheless Chevron had formerly betrothed Judge Rakoff and 3 U.S. appellate judges that it would accept Ecuador’s office and reside by a justice decisions in sell for relocating a box to Ecuador, Chevron has refused to compensate and continues to disagree in any justice that will hear a complaints that a remediation agreement frees it from all shortcoming for a repairs it caused.
But, if that’s unequivocally a case, because doesn’t a remediation agreement have difference to that effect? Or have a signatures of a villagers who brought a case? Even if a justice ruled that a agreement expelled a claims (none has), a problem with a remediation itself remains. Why?
At best, it was terribly inadequate. At worst, it never happened. In possibly event, it was a sham.
Most likely, Texaco’s executive dumped mud over a pits to cover adult a oil and called it a day. Over time, some foliage grew on tip of a mud and that’s because Chevron began carrying picnics to uncover reporters how immature a gardens grew.
Which brings us behind to Chevron’s James Craig and a rope of happy Ecuadorians digging holes underneath full moons in a jungle to “sabotage” Texaco’s supposed remediation.
Six opposite margin tests taken by opposite parties, including those taken by Chevron, infer a remediation was a fraud. The supposed “cleaned” pits are only as infested as those not cleaned. See here for information about a margin tests described below.
1) Chevron’s possess tests taken during Texaco’s remediated good sites uncover bootleg levels of sum petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). For example, Chevron found 13,000 tools per million (ppm) of TPH levels during a oil good site, famous as Shushufindi 48. Ecuador requires a TPH turn to be next 1,000 ppm; a normal U.S. customary is even lower, during 100 ppm.
2) Chevron also took additional tests in Mar 2009, as a conference was entrance to a close. Chevron’s consultant Marcelo Munoz tested 8 purportedly “remediated” sites and found bootleg levels of decay during two. Chevron refused to compensate Munoz for his report, even nonetheless a oil association requested that he control a tests.
3) In 2003, 5 years after a feign cleanup, Ecuador supervision auditors reported they had detected pits oozing with oil and resolved a supervision had “erred in certifying” a cleanup. “Texaco has caused irrevocable damage,” settled a news by a General Controller, a supervision group that audits open contracts. “The environmental remediation and correct agreement goes opposite a country’s interest.” The auditors’ tests found that over 85% of pits tested had poisonous levels aloft than 1,000 ppm of TPH. They also found oil seeping out of 41 “remediated” Texaco rubbish pits and pronounced 59 pits had been left uncovered.
4) In 2009, an Ecuador prosecutor systematic nonetheless another array of tests. Of a 20 tests conducted during 9 sites, 16 returned with poisonous levels aloft than a Ecuadorian customary of 1,000 ppm, and of those, 13 had levels aloft than 5,000 ppm.
5) The Ecuadorians also did a array of tests during a “remediated” pits and found TPH levels aloft than 30,000 ppm.
6) And, in 2013, a U.S. environmental engineering firm, The Louis Berger Group, did additional tests for a Government of Ecuador and found, once again, high levels of contamination. The American association also reviewed a work of Chevron’s experts during a supposed remediated sites and found countless flaws and improper conclusions. See pages 35 to 42.
All of this justification adds adult to one thing: Texaco committed rascal opposite a Ecuador government. And Chevron has finished a same by fibbing about a remediation to Ecuador and U.S. courts.
Chevron is obliged for what Texaco did. It’s also obliged for what Texaco never did — that was cleanup a poisonous disaster that is literally killing or melancholy to kill thousands of people from cancer.