Chevron in Ecuador

The archive of the Clean Up Ecuador campaign website

Chevron Lied To Columbia Journalism Review About Toxic Oil Well

Amazon Defense Coalition

Amazon Defense Coalition
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109

Washington, DC – The plaintiffs in the eco-disaster lawsuit in Ecuador against Chevron released information today that proves the oil giant lied to the highly respected Columbia Journalism Review about an oil well site in the rainforest featured in a 60 Minutes piece that aired almost a year ago.

The information can obtained here and here.

In a critique of 60 Minutes' coverage of the lawsuit filed by indigenous tribes in Ecuador against Chevron, CJR writer Martha Hamilton said 60 Minutes should have reported that the government-owned oil company Petroecuador operated the well site Shushufindi 38 after Texaco left Ecuador in 1992. Chevron also told Hamilton that soil tests turned up no contamination at the site.

Had Hamilton contacted the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, she would have learned that Chevron lied to her, said Karen Hinton, spokesperson for the Amazon Defense Coalition. Court documents clearly show that only Texaco operated the well site, which Texaco closed in 1984. Tests from the plaintiffs revealed illegal levels of toxins at over 400 times the Ecuador legal limit of 1,000 parts per million of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons.

Chevron’s tests at the well site, on the other hand, showed no contamination because the oil company took its test samples uphill and away from the well site, said Hinton. Chevron then used those same samples to report to the court that the toxic waste sites posed no risk to human health, she added.

"This deceptive method of soil sampling is part of Chevron's fraud in Ecuador and it was used to deceive the Columbia Journalism Review," said Hinton.