The Crowd Claims
Chevron must remediate the damages it left behind due to oil extraction in Ecuador.
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 contamination of 480,000 hectare Amazon rainforest and to set up a large health care program. To cover the ongoing costs for preparation of the upcoming legal steps, the crowd needs US $3,000 (2.500 euro) per month.
In 2013, the Ecuador National Court ordered Chevron to pay 9.5 billion US dollars to clean up 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 The contamination was arising due to inappropriate and outdated oil extraction methods between 1964 and 1992, including deliberate dumping of toxic waste and crude oil in the area. As a result, land, water and the whole ecosystem are extensively polluted, and local communities have been suffering from severe diseases, even leading to their deaths. Despite previously agreeing to abide by Ecuadorian courts’ rulings, until now Chevron refuses to pay and has meantime stripped all its assets in Ecuador.
In 2015, the 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.
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 contaminates 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 of 480,000 hectare Amazon rainforest.
This deathly pollution of the Amazon was caused by Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) by using inappropriate and outdated oil extraction equipment and methods between 1964 and 1992, in the Lago Agrio oil fields, including dumping toxic oil sludge into over 880 unlined waste pits carved out of the jungle floor and left abandoned. 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 the 30,000 people living in the area sued Chevron, formerly Texaco, in a class-action lawsuit in New York. Nine years later, Chevron, however, persuaded the U.S. Court to transfer the case 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. It represents a historical milestone for local communities struggling against multinational corporations and related environmental crimes.
Chevron has stripped its Ecuadorian assets and promised the victims ‘a lifetime of lawsuits’. They have already spent hundreds of millions of US dollars to refrain from paying the 9.5 billion dollar judgment! The victims are now taking legal steps to seize the assets of this oil multinational in other countries, notably Canada, in order to collect their legitimate compensation.
Fromboliere Cia. Ltda (Fromboliere), based in Ecuador, is the NGO/nonprofit that The Crowd Versus works together with for this case. Fromboliere legally represents the Union of People Affected from Texaco’s Oil Operations (UDAPT) and collects and invests resources for this case.