Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Happens When Big Oil Freaks Out

Chevron Spending $400 Million A Year On Ecuador Case, Subsidized By U.S Government?

Since 2011, when an Ecuadorian court found Chevron guilty of widespread contamination of the Amazon rain forest and ordered the oil giant to pay $19 billion in damages, Chevron has been spending around $400 million annually on 2,000 legal experts from 60 law firms to evade paying the judgment, according to a recent court filing.

But, for all the money and all the lawyers, Chevron is facing enforcement actions in four countries -- Ecuador, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil – where the Ecuadorians could seize their billions from Chevron’s assets. And, Chevron continues to lose in U.S. courts on the merits. See here.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports today that Chevron has received $2.6 billion in federal tax-free bonds to expand a refinery in Mississippi. The New York Times said Chevron has received more than any U.S.-based corporation and described it as "sweetheart rates for corporations."

What this means is the U.S. federal government is subsidizing Chevron's legal bills as a result of its misconduct in Ecuador, not to mention litigation and accusations Chevron has been defending in Brazil, California, Angola, Nigeria and other places across the globe. See here. 

In a desperate attempt to stop enforcement of the $19 billion judgment, Chevron has accused the Ecuadorian villagers and their lawyers for “fraud” and sued them in about 20 different U.S. court jurisdictions, filing hundreds of legal motions and millions of pages of discovery documents and taking over 40 depositions from experts and consultants -- all designed to distract from the 16 billion gallons of toxic production water it dumped into the Ecuadorian rainforest and the 900 unlined pits Chevron built to store permanently pure crude oil. 

For more details, read this press release.

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