New York, New York – Chevron is attempting to evade a US$18 billion judgment in Ecuador levied against its Texaco brand for environmental damage, according to law experts and the Andean Commission of Jurists.
After an eight-year trial, a three-judge appellate panel in Ecuador affirmed the $18 billion judgment earlier this year. The charges stem from the period 1964 to 1992, when reports said that Chevron dumped contaminated water into Amazon waterways, used unlined waste pits for sludge, never developed plans to contain or clean up its frequent oil spills, burned oil and natural gas flares, and destroyed documents.
In a letter to the United Nations, the Andean Commission said that it was “alarmed” by Chevron’s attempt to use a private investor arbitration to influence the outcome of private litigation with indigenous groups in Ecuador’s courts. The Commission accused the oil company of continuing to use “questionable litigation tactics to deny those injured any forum to seek justice and compensation for their injuries.”
Chevron shifted the environmental lawsuit from U.S. federal court to Ecuador in 2002 after promising to abide by any judgment there, subject only to narrow enforcement defenses that did not include international arbitration. The commissions say that Chevron stripped its assets from Ecuador to avoid paying the judgment.
Separately, indigenous rainforest communities have filed suit in Washington, D.C. before an international tribunal, seeking an order that would prevent Chevron from using the secret arbitration to violate their rights.