Monday, March 21, 2011

Critical News Coverage Online & UK Spell Out Chevron’s Misconduct

The U.S. mainstream media has ignored largely the charges of misconduct that the Ecuadorians suing Chevron have leveled against the California-based oil giant in U.S. and Ecuadorian courts. Lately, though, some of the company’s unethical and, in some instances, illegal actions are being told in other venues: both online and in the U.K.

Online blogger Brendan DeMelle from DeSmogBlog unveiled a number of memos written by Texaco officials and consultants show exactly how Ecuadorian government officials and Texaco executives worked hand in hand during the 1990s, especially during the negotiation of the so-called “remediation” agreement between the government and Texaco. (The Ecuadorians have sued Chevron for the oil contamination, which purchased Texaco in 2001.) During the trial in Ecuador, the plaintiffs discovered that oil sites supposedly cleaned by Texaco in exchange for the release of government claims were just as contaminated as those not cleaned. Two Chevron lawyers and seven former government officials have been indicted for falsifying the verification of the agreement. For more information about the remediation, click here.

And, there is this from Guardian environmental editor, John Vidal, who wrote that “oil is the dirtiest industry in the world and Chevron, one the world's largest companies, must be the oiliest. That's saying something when you consider it has rivals including BP, Shell, Exxon and Oxy." Vidal wrote:

“Its lawyers must be some of the busiest in the world. Court records show that in the past 20 years, the company has been made to pay around $2bn in fines and settlements to governments and communities for tax evasion, and environmental violations around the world.

“But its handling of the Ecuadoran case breaks new ground in how a corporation tries to fight its corner and avoid its liabilities.”

Vidal includes a long list of Chevron’s misdeeds in Ecuador and in the U.S., including its denial that Texaco’s operations caused any harm to the environment or to people during its three decades of oil exploration in the Amazon rain-forest.