With Record Court Judgment Looming, Goldman Prize Winner and Cofán Indigenous Leader to Confront Chevron CEO
22 May 2009 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Major Public Pension Funds in California & New York Lining up Against Chevron Management on Ecuador Resolution
(For interviews, contact Kevin Koenig, Amazon Watch, 415-726-4607)
When: Wednesday, May 27 at 08:30 a.m.
Where: Chevron Headquarters - 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon, California 94583
What: Representatives of indigenous and farming communities from Ecuador’s Amazon will be present to bring their 15 year battle for justice to Chevron's doorstep. They will address CEO David O’Reilly before shareholders. There will be an accompanying protest by a large coalition of human rights and environmental organizations outside the building.
Who: Luis Yanza, winner of the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize, and Emergildo Criollo, a leader of the Cofán indigenous people who were decimated by oil operations on their territory. Both will be in San Francisco from May 25 to May 27 and are available for interviews by contacting Kevin Koenig at: 415-726-4607
Background: Chevron faces a multi-billion dollar judgment in a historic lawsuit in which a decision is expected later this year. The lawsuit, which was filed in New York in 1993 and is now in trial in Ecuador at Chevron’s request, is believed to be the largest environmental case in history. Yanza and Criollo represent 30,000 rainforest plaintiffs who accuse the company of environmental damage while Texaco, acquired by Chevron in 2001, was the exclusive operator of a large oil concession in the rainforest between 1964 and 1990. During that time, Texaco utilized substandard operational practices that deliberately dumped over 18 billion gallons of toxic waste water into Amazon waterways and abandoned approximately 1,000 open waste pits that continue to contaminate drinking water to this day.
This year's shareholder meeting is rapidly becoming an indictment of how Chevron management is handling the case. Several major public pension funds from California, New York, New York City and Philadelphia, among others, are supporting a resolution on the Ecuador issue that asks Chevron’s management to assess whether Chevron is complying with host country laws relating to environmental protection. Shareholders also have expressed concern over senior management's failure to adequately disclose the risk of any potential adverse judgment in the case. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has opened a probe of Chevron to determine if it is misleading shareholders.
Yanza and Criollo are featured in the acclaimed documentary film "Crude" by award winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger, slated for theatrical release in September. The legal battle was featured this month on the CBS program "60 Minutes" and has been the subject of recent coverage in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Public Radio.
Luis Yanza grew up in the Amazon rainforest where he witnessed the oil industry's devastating impact on the environment. He founded the Amazon Defense Coalition in 1994 and has been at the forefront of the effort by more than 80 rainforest communities to hold Chevron accountable. Emergildo Criollo was just a young child when he first encountered Texaco workers on Cofán lands. He later lost two children who he believes died from ingesting toxins relating to oil contamination.