Friday, December 30, 2011

Chevron's Silence Screams Guilt

Again Oil Giant Fails to Defend Misconduct in Ecuador Case

Once again, Chevron's silence tells us more about the company's fraudulent misconduct in Ecuador than do its whitewashed
public statements.

After refusing to answer questions about offering what amounts to a $1 billion bribe to the government of Ecuador to help the company kill the $18 billion lawsuit, Chevron's lawyers refused to address allegations of doctoring a "Judicial Inspection Playbook" to hide its fraudulent testing practices at contaminated well sites during the trial. See this press release for details about the playbook, which Chevron used to instruct its testers how to collect soil and water samples.

In a court brief filed with the Southern District Court of New York in a related matter, Chevron refused to address the Ecuadorians' charges that its environmental consulting firm, GSI Environmental, sanitized the playbook document before giving it to two academic experts who later wrote a report lauding the oil giant's sampling protocol. The two experts are Dr. Pedro J. Alvarez currently the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University, and Dr. Douglas Mackay, an adjunct professor at the University of California, Davis.

GSI removed all directives ordering the testers to collect only "clean" samples from spots identified during "pre-inspections" that took place before the official judicial inspections. They also removed comments about the local residents drinking, cooking and bathing with water from the nearby streams and rivers. See this document that compares the original playbook with the altered one.

Not surprisingly, Chevron regularly found no contamination at sites that looked like this.

If there's an explanation for this whitewash, we're betting the two academic experts would like to know to ensure their integrity doesn't come into question.

But Chevron is suddenly very quiet.