Friday, May 25, 2012

As Bad As Chevron Behaved Last Year, This Year It's Worse

Rebecca Tarbotton got it exactly right in her blog yesterday, titled Chevron's Worst Year Ever.

 As bad as oil companies behave -- both here at home and abroad -- Chevron takes the cake, especially this year. In a series of blogs, Tarbotton is posting about the oil giant's massive legal losses in Ecuador, its offshore disasters in Brazil and Nigeria, the indisputable contamination it is causing today in Kazakhstan, as well as the tragic deaths of the company's own employees in several locations, including in its home state of California.

Tarbotton is amplifying the voices of people who live in these countries and are fighting Chevron's efforts to hide behind its feel-good public face of expensive advertising designed to misled people, especially here in the United States.

She quotes from a letter to Chevron, written by Sergey Solyanik of Crude Accountability about the village of Berezovka in Kazakhstan:

"For nine years the residents of the village of Berezovka, which is located a mere five kilometers from the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field, have been fighting for relocation to an environmentally clean and safe location. When exploitation of the field first began, the health of the 1300 residents of Berezovka radically worsened. The population is now suffering regularly from headaches and memory loss, muscular-skeletal problems, vision loss, cardio-vascular difficulties, serious gastroenterological problems, upper respiratory illness, and skin ailments. According to independent data, approximately half of the villagers suffer from chronic illness. The residents feel the impacts of hydrogen sulfide and other toxic chemicals that are connected with oil extraction and refining." 

Solyanik was one of about 30 people who Chevron threw out of a shareholder meeting two years ago, even though he had a legitimate proxie and had traveled all the way from Kazakhstan just to attend. While Solyanik will not be able to attend Chevron's shareholder meeting next week on May 30th, Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua of Ecuador will.

Here are the words of Cusangua, a farmer whose source of water has been contaminated by Chevron's oil.  She wrote to Chevron:

"We have won the lawsuit against Chevron, but still the company doesn’t want to accept responsibility for what they have done. They have no shame. They remain arrogant. They call us liars. But I have lived through the contamination that they left here. They can’t contradict me! The river close to my house was our source of life, and when Texaco drilled the wells Sacha 89, 90, 91 and even Sacha 5 and 13, the river became filled with oil. My children suffered because of the contamination. Their feet rotted, they had warts and rashes on their skin. And my mother got cancer on her nose. Do you think that there would be so much cancer in a virgin forest? I remember the nights when my feet would burn, and I would cry from pain, and slowly my feet would start to rot, and the skin would fall off piece by piece. All of this sickness was caused by the contamination that Chevron left here in the Amazon."

Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua

Tarbotton will be featuring the opinions of other people from across the globe in future blogs.

Chevron will dismiss these people and say that they are lying; that others are to blame; that there is a grand worldwide conspiracy to extort money from the company.

But it cannot be that so many people from so many countries are so wrong, and Chevron is so right.

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