Hold Chevron accountable for the polluted mess in Ecuador rainforest!
The Crowd Claims
The Union of People Affected by Texaco’s Oil Operations (UDAPT), representing 30,000 victims of oil contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon area, caused by the oil giant Chevron-Texaco, have been ordered to pay court costs in the amount of CAD $350,000 and in under one month (by July 6th) to continue their struggle for justice.
This is justice turned upside down!
Chevron should be paying to remediate the massive pollution from 30 years of oil extraction operations in Ecuador. The pollution left behind has damaged the lives and health of the indigenous peoples and farmers living in the area.
Next legal action of The Crowd
Seize the assets of Chevron in Canada, in order to collect the legitimate compensation of 9.5 billion US dollars needed to clean up the pollution of 480,000 hectare Amazon rainforest (bigger than Rhode Island).
After a 6-year legal struggle in Canada, in May 2018 the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled against UDAPT, the victims of Chevron-Texaco contamination, on the basis of mistaken assumptions.
In order to be able to challenge this sentence before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal of Ontario ordered the UDAPT Plaintiffs to pay CAD $350,000 (roughly 230.000 euro) in under one month!
If UDAPT cannot pay this, all of their 25 years of legal battles, following the path to achieving justice for the Amazon area and health programs for its people, will be at the biggest risk of losing!
This is their most important challenge, and they need your financial support.
In 2013, the Ecuador National Court ordered Chevron to pay 9.5 billion US dollars to clean up the 480,000 hectares of polluted Amazon rainforest and to set up a large health program, thereby confirming two previous verdicts of Ecuadorian provincial courts in 2011 and 2012. The contamination was arising due to inappropriate and outdated oil extraction methods between 1964 and 1990, including deliberate dumping of toxic waste and crude oil in the jungle area. As a result, land, water, and the whole ecosystem are extensively polluted and damaged. Local communities have been suffering from severe diseases, even leading to their (premature) deaths.
Despite previously agreeing to abide by Ecuadorian courts’ rulings, Chevron refuses to pay. Furthermore, Chevron has stripped all its financial assets in Ecuador in the meantime. The oil giant even promised the victims ‘a lifetime of lawsuits’.
For this reason, UDAPT victims, as Plaintiffs in lawsuits, have been seeking to enforce the verdict in other countries where the oil multinational company currently does hold assets. This international legal fight is aimed at collecting the legitimate financial compensation that will make it possible to clean up the polluted area and restore the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon is a global common good, often called ‘the lungs of our earth.’
In essence, all of us are affected by this pollution left behind by Chevron-Texaco.
In 2015, a Supreme Court decision in Canada allowed the victims to proceed with the enforcement in that country. A new ruling from the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2017 rejected Chevron’s arguments aimed at hindering the case and allowed the trial to continue in 2018. However, in May 2018 this same Court ruled against the Plaintiffs, the UDAPT victims.
The only hope of UDAPT’s victims to continue this 25-year long struggle for justice is to collect CAD $350,000 in under one month (!) to be able to file an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Otherwise, all UDAPT’s legal battles will end in Canada, and perhaps elsewhere, to fight this giant oil company with its expensive, corporate lawyers.
Case background and who The Crowd supports
Chevron left Ecuador in 1992, but it “forgot” to take home the 16 billion gallons of toxic waste and 650,000 crude oil barrels that contaminate streams and rivers relied on by local inhabitants for their drinking water, bathing, and fishing.
After that, Chevron ignored the Ecuadorian National Court and refused to pay the 9.5 billion US dollars to clean the contamination it caused.
This deathly pollution of the Amazon was caused by Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) by deliberately using inappropriate and outdated oil extraction equipment and methods in the Lago Agrio oil fields between 1964 and 1990. Texaco even dumped toxic oil sludge into more than 880 unlined waste pits carved out of the jungle floor and abandoned these.
Ever since, indigenous people and farmers have been permanently exposed to contaminated water and lands, causing many of them to fall (very) ill, even leading to their deaths. In the affected area, cancer and other diseases occur at a rate up to 10 times higher than the rest of the country.
In 1993, 75 indigenous people and farmers representing these 30,000 people living in the area, sued Chevron-Texaco in a class-action lawsuit in New York. Nine years later, Chevron persuaded the U.S. Court to transfer the case back to Ecuadorian courts. The subsequent trial in Ecuador took ten years, finding Chevron guilty of damaging the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous people. This verdict, which ordered Chevron to pay 9.5 billion US dollars to clean up its mess, has been reviewed and confirmed by three different layers of judgment within Ecuador, including the Ecuadorian National Court.
This final judgment represents a historical milestone for local communities struggling against multinational corporations and related environmental crimes.
Meantime, Chevron stripped its Ecuadorian assets and promised the victims ‘a lifetime of lawsuits’. The powerful multinational has already spent hundreds of millions of US dollars to refrain from paying the legitimate judgment.
The victims of this polluted Amazon in Ecuador are now taking legal steps to seize the assets of this oil company in other countries, notably Canada, in order to collect their legitimate financial compensation.
The Union of People Affected by Texaco’s Oil Operations (UDAPT), based in Ecuador, is the nonprofit community-based organization that The Crowd Versus works together with for this case. The UDAPT comprises the over 30,000 indigenous people, farmers and peasants affected by the environmental disaster caused by Chevron-Texaco and represents them in the legal case against the oil giant.