Peripheral Revision

Unfiltering history as we live it

Ecuador: Chevron selling assets to avoid paying for toxic pollution

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San Francisco Chronicle, April 5, 2011

In February, San Ramon-based Chevron was dealt the largest environmental damages ruling in history. The company vowed never to pay a cent of the damages, and it appears to be keeping its word.

A little background: The epic lawsuit, filed by Amazon indigenous groups in U.S. court in 1993, was moved to Ecuador at Chevron’s request in 2002.

After the February ruling, Chevron appealed in U.S. court on the grounds that Ecuador’s legal system is corrupt and inadequate. (The Ecuadorian ambassador to the U.S. was not pleased.) U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York slapped the plaintiffs with temporary injunction, barring them from attempting to collect the mandated damages from Chevron.

Now Chevron has begun selling off its assets in countries that may be less inclined to protect it from the Ecuadorian ruling than its own. It has allegedly reached an agreement to sell $1.7 billion in assets located in the United Kingdom and made plans to divest of assets in over 20 other countries.

Chevron has based its suggestion that the Ecuadorian ruling stems from corruption only on innuendo-rich “sting” video tapes acquired through means of dubious legality and outtakes from the movie Crude, which Judge Kaplan forced documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger to turn over. — the company shouldn’t have to hide its assets. The Goliath corporation ought to be able to prevail in a court of law against the handful of Davids suing it.

Incidentally, the company ought also to pay some taxes on its massive profits here in the U.S. In 2010, it got a $19-million rebate on profits of $10 billion. Its toxic asset fire sale will probably mean an even fatter profit in 2011.


Written by peripheralrevision

04/06/2011 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Ecuador

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