Ecuador: Chevron loses appeal against $18 billion pollution fine

That’s about 16% of Ecuador’s GDP.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

An Ecuadorian court on Tuesday ratified a multibillion-dollar ruling issued last year against Chevron Corp., holding the company responsible for environmental and punitive damages stemming from oil operations in Ecuador’s Amazon region.

An appeals judge upheld the original ruling, issued last February, “in all its aspects,” according to a copy of the ruling. The original decision ordered Chevron to pay some $9.5 billion in remediation costs and plaintiff damages, and an additional $8.6 billion if it refused to apologize for environmental damages, which the company vehemently denies.

The ruling was appealed both by Chevron, which accused the plaintiffs of presenting fraudulent evidence and the Ecuadorian government of interfering with the process, and by the plaintiffs, who sought a bigger award. Judge Milton Toral Zevallos acknowledged errors in some of the evidence, but that these were minor and wouldn’t have affected the initial decision. The judge denied the plaintiffs’ requests for additional damages. The ruling also fixed the plaintiffs lawyers’ fees at 0.1% of the awards resulting from the latest ruling.

The plaintiffs said in a statement that the decision is “yet further confirmation of Chevron’s extraordinary greed and criminal misconduct in Ecuador,” and that now the company has an opportunity to show that it respects the “laws and courts of other countries.” “If it does not, the communities will take all measures allowed by the law to secure their legally entitled right to a clean-up,” the statement said…

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2 thoughts on “Ecuador: Chevron loses appeal against $18 billion pollution fine”

  1. From what I can see, there is still cleanup to be done, but large fractions were caused by the State Oil Company, not Texaco. I might consider a judgement a hundredth of this size reasonable. Perhaps if the Chevron Remediation Department took over, they could clean it up in a few years for significantly less than even that.

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