Monday, January 5, 2009

Science Doesn’t Lie. Or Does It?

Katie Bezrouch over at Imagine 2050 hit on an interesting thread last week: Chevron has apparently commissioned "scientific studies" to create findings supporting their analysis that there has been no harm to the Ecuador region that the company devastated. The catch is that these studies are apparently funded by the big oil company and are done by a company that shares a member of its board of directors with Chevron. Not exactly independent research. Bezrouch writes:

"According to Judith Kimerling (2007 recipient of the Parker Gentry Award for Conservation Biology), "…from 1972 until it left Ecuador in 1992, Texaco intentionally dumped more than 19 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the region and was responsible for 16.8 million gallons of crude oil spilling from the main pipeline into the forest." This pollution has caused massive amounts of eco-degradation and human health problems. There has been increased cancer rates in oil producing villages and higher miscarriage rates. The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health attributes this to living in the proximity of a contaminated water source, and it just so happens that the streams in the region contain more than 280 times more oil chemicals than European communities would allow.

But Chevron has a different perspective. Their analysis of Ecuador data reveals no increased cancer levels in the oil region. They fabricated this information by funding a study of their own called "Cancer Mortality and Oil Production in the Amazon Region of Ecuador, 1990-2005," key word being "funding". The study was conducted by three scientists at a consulting firm called Exponent. When I went to the their website and found that the veteran member of the Exponent Board of Directors (Samuel H. Armacost) is also a board member of the Chevron Corporation, I couldn't help myself from laughing out loud.

Anyone with a critical eye should be able to see right through Chevron's junk science. An independent court-appointed expert found that 100% of Chevron's former well sites are contaminated with illegal levels of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons. Most all of the samples contain well known carcinogens, or, cancer causing agents.

Makes you wonder exactly how reliable that data is.