Monday, March 7, 2011

Chevron Can’t Cover Up Its Amazon Mess By Pointing To Its Own “Audits”

One of the “evidence” Chevron often points to claiming they are not responsible for the environmental damage to the Ecuadorian Amazon is a set of “audits” done by an “independent expert” hired by the big oil company. Chevron’s claims based on these audits are patently false. The audits show the opposite, that Chevron is responsible for the damage at over 45 sites operated by Chevron.

In fact, as shown by the plaintiffs in their Alegato Final (Final argument) in Ecuador, Chevron’s own “audit” shows that the oil company is responsible for the mess created in the Amazon. The first two independent studies from 1992 found extensive evidence of Chevron’s reckless disregard for the environment in Ecuador from 1964 through 1990. In fact, the audits noted multiple violations of Ecuadorian environmental laws. Chevron turned around and hired a third independent expert who had similar finding.

It’s Chevron’s report that is the most damaging, because they are the ones backing it. It does anything but absolve them of the responsibility. The Chevron report found:
  • All but one facility had contaminated water discharge into creeks and streams.

  • Hydrocarbon contamination at all facilities and a majority of drilling sites.

  • Water waste was historically discharged into surface water.

  • “An oil spill prevention and control plan was not identified. The audit teams also did not observe any spill control or containment equipment.”

  • Rather than cleaning chemical or hydrocarbon spills, the oil company covered the spills with sand.

Various environmental experts have said that Chevrons claims are dubious, in part because their process for conducting environmental tests is flawed. Among other problems, Chevron only tested a thin layer of soil, tested soil from outside areas expected to be contaminated and mixed soil samples together from different sites to minimize the amount to contaminants. These actions show that Chevron’s claims about audits and testing are false.

5 independent studies have concluded that Chevron is responsible for environmental damage in Ecuador. While the oil giant claims they are not responsible, all the studies prove them wrong. More on this is available in the plaintiff’s final argument presenting overwhelming scientific evidence of Chevron’s mess in Ecuador, which you can find by going here.