Chevron’s Legal Strategy Derailed, Ecuadoreans Score Major Victory in Amazon Pollution Case

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch Statement

NEW YORK—Yesterday, a US court dealt Chevron a severe blow after lifting a ban on an $18bn judgment against the oil giant for contaminating the Amazon. A New York appeals court vacated a lower court's order that had blocked Ecuadorean plaintiffs from collecting money in a long-running lawsuit over pollution in their Amazon rainforest home.

In February, a judge in Ecuador ruled that Chevron should pay to clean up contamination in the oil fields where Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, once worked.

Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network, which have spent years working to help the Ecuadorean people and protect the Amazon, released the following statement in response:

“Despite Chevron’s consistent attempts to use every legal and PR maneuver to shield itself from having to clean up its mess in the Ecuador Amazon, the overwhelming evidence against the oil giant is speaking for itself.

“In throwing out the injunction blocking an $18bn verdict against Chevron, the Second Circuit Court of appeals is signaling a major rebuke of US Federal Judge Kaplan’s findings. This is a major victory for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs, their counsel, and their allies and supporters.

“It is important that we celebrate this historic milestone, but just as important that we continue to push Chevron to redirect the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on litigation and PR into cleaning up its toxic legacy in the Ecuadorean Amazon. We call on Chevron's management to finally do the right thing by meeting their moral, legal and fiduciary obligations to clean up the company's contamination in Ecuador. Justice delayed is justice denied, and the men, women, and children of the Ecuadorean Amazon have suffered for far too long already.”

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Founded in 1996, Amazon Watch is a non-profit environmental and human rights organization working to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org