Summary of the Alegato – Pt. I of Final Argument in Lawsuit
Amazon Defense Coalition
24 January 2011
Lawyers for the Amazonian communities suing Chevron have submitted the first part of their final written argument to the Ecuador court, outlining the evidence demonstrating Chevron's liability in the $113 billion environmental damages lawsuit, and the fraud behind the company's primary defense of remediation.
The court filing – called an "alegato" in Ecuador – details in exacting detail how evidence gathered by independent experts, the plaintiffs, and from Chevron itself proves the case against the oil company. The lawsuit was first filed in U.S. federal court in 1993 but was shifted to Ecuador at Chevron's request. The plaintiffs are tens of thousands of persons who live in area of Ecuador where Chevron operated several large oil fields from 1964 to 1990, reaping excess profits by using substandard practices.
The PDF document above is a SUMMARY of the the first part of the alegato/final argument.
Chevron has long argued, as its primary defenses at trial, that no contamination in Ecuador is linked to its operations, that any contamination that had been present was cleaned up in a "remediation" conducted from 1995-98, and that any contamination remaining in the region was the responsibility of Petroecuador, Ecuador's state-owned oil company which took over the oilfields after Chevron abandoned them in 1992.
Despite Chevron's claims, a summary of the plaintiff's alegato concludes the legal release used by Chevron as a result of that remediation is "null and void" because it was based on numerous false and misleading representations by the company. Instead of actually cleaning up the waste in the area, the limited "remediation" was largely accomplished by simply covering a small number of waste pits with dirt and then using an inappropriate laboratory test that counted only a fraction of the actual contamination to "prove" that the remediation had been effective.
"The voluminous scientific evidence in the case is summarized clearly in this historic document," said Karen Hinton, spokesperson for the plaintiffs. "This evidence proves overwhelmingly that Chevron is responsible for what is widely regarded as the world's worst oil-related disaster. We encourage all interested persons to read the alegato and judge for themselves whether Chevron is telling the truth about its deliberate misconduct in Ecuador."