Video Reveals the Blatant Recklessness that Led to Widespread Contamination and Illness in the Region
Amazon Defense Coalition
2 March 2011 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Washingon, DC – In a video released today, a former oil operations assistant for Texaco (now Chevron) lays bare the stunning negligence and deliberate dumping of 18.5 billion gallons of highly toxic waste into Ecuadorian ecosystems by Chevron in its pursuit of oil in the Amazon rainforest.
The video provides a firsthand report of routine procedures knowingly applied by Chevron that contaminated soil, rivers, and groundwater for tens of thousands of locals, for over three decades.
Over the course of the interview, the former employee details how Chevron – using antiquated technology and violating standard industry practice – regularly ordered the dumping of chemicals and toxins into the homeland of thousands of indigenous Ecuadorians, causing an ongoing environmental catastrophe for which the company continues to deny responsibility.
The employee recounts:
"...the waste water was dumped into a ravine, a stream without any treatment at all. The water that was dumped was yellow, totally contaminated because it was injected with two classes of chemicals...to separate the water and ... to separate the sediment. The [oil] well was on a hill and drained down the mountainside into the river. It went down and came out in a river that completely contaminated the entire region."
The former employee also notes that Chevron not only allowed the dumping of toxic waste into the land; it knowingly ordered the disposal of waste in this fashion.
"Texaco went in their vehicles, they would go around checking that everything is in order. They came constantly, almost every day they arrived to watch over...they gave the orders for us to drain the water out into the nature, the contaminated waters, it didn’t go anywhere to get treated... it went directly through a pipe and drained down the mountainside. Nowhere else."
The video adds a damning first-hand account of the deliberate devastation already evidenced by multiple scientific tests of the region’s soil and water supply. Documents submitted to the court in the case for justice in Ecuador concluded that Chevron:
- Treated the environment "recklessly" and deliberately disposed of billions of gallons of toxic waste into rivers and streams over the 26-year period that it operated a large oil concession in Ecuador's Amazon region.
- Dumped more than 16 billion gallons of chemical-laden "produced water" into streams and rivers over 70 years after the industry had stopped the practice in the United States due to its damaging environmental impacts.
- Built and then abandoned more than 900 toxic waste pits filled with oil drilling byproducts such as barium, heavy metals, chloride, and acid – all of which need extensive remediation.
- Polluted the air by flaring gas with no controls, spilled thousands of barrels of oil, had no spill response plan, and ordered the destruction of records documenting oil spills.