Chevron in Ecuador

The archive of the Clean Up Ecuador campaign website

Statement on Chevron's Appeal of the $18 Billion Judgment in Ecuador

Amazon Defense Coalition

Amazon Defense Coalition
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109

Karen Hinton, U.S. spokesperson for the Ecuadorians, said:

"For almost two decades, Chevron has stood in the way of a comprehensive cleanup of billions of gallons of crude oil and toxic waste water it deliberately dumped into the pristine rainforest. Thousands of people have died or have suffered from illnesses as the oil giant and its legions of lawyers fought to distract attention from the overwhelming evidence against the company. Chevron has always believed that Ecuador's many laws prohibiting environmental contamination should not apply to the company's misconduct.

"In its latest notice of appeal, Chevron again seeks special treatment not afforded any other litigant under Ecuadorian law. Chevron's request that a bond requirement be waived would force the Ecuador appellate court to violate laws protecting the winning side in any litigation from further attempts by the loser to delay the proceedings and cause further harm – which in this case includes a grave risk of illness and death to thousands of people from indigenous groups and farmer communities sickened by the company's toxic dumping.

"The arbitral order cited by Chevron as justification for its request for a bond waiver is not binding on the rainforest communities as they are not a party to the proceedings. It is the position of the communities that the relief Chevron is seeking is beyond the scope of the authority given the arbitration, and in any event would violate Ecuador's laws and international treaties protecting the fundamental human rights of indigenous groups and others who continue to suffer from the abuses visited upon them by Chevron. These rights include the right to life and the right to seek legal redress.

"By seeking a special waiver of the bond requirement that applies to all litigants in Ecuador, Chevron is playing high-stakes poker by counting on Ecuadorian courts to violate the law just so Chevron can delay the enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment as allowed by law.

"We want to reiterate that Chevron has every right to appeal to Ecuador's National Court of Justice to seek review of the trial and appellate court decisions, but it has no right to special treatment during the pendency of the appeal."

The Ecuadorians have leveled their own fraud charges against Chevron. In briefs submitted to U.S. and Ecuadorian courts, they submitted evidence that Chevron staked out "clean" spots to test prior to the judicial inspections, switched "dirty" samples for clean, sent dirty samples to a secret lab and doctored a "judicial playbook" document so two academic experts would endorse its sampling protocol, among other charges. These charges also will be presented to other countries' courts where the Ecuadorians will seek to enforce the judgment.

Chevron's key defense is the 1995 remediation agreement negotiated between Ecuador and Chevron two years after the Ecuadorians filed their original lawsuit in the United States. The agreement, however, released only government claims, not third party claims, and tests taken the trial showed that well sites allegedly cleaned during the remediation were just as contaminated as those that were not.

Yesterday's 2nd Circuit ruling marks Chevron's third consecutive setback in U.S. federal courts on the enforceability of the $18 billion Ecuador judgment. In September, a federal appellate panel blocked Chevron's attempt to seek an unprecedented worldwide injunction blocking enforcement. In January, a federal district recently denied Chevron's illegal attempt to freeze the assets of the plaintiffs. Also, on January 3rd Ecuador's appellate court confirmed the validity of the trial court judgment.