Monday, October 20, 2008

A Lifetime of Cover-up

"QUITO, Ecuador, Oct 15, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Texaco, now owned by Chevron, ordered its employees to destroy reports documenting oil spills in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador where the company is now the subject of a $16.3 billion potential liability in a civil lawsuit, according to an internal company memo released today by the group representing plaintiffs in the case.
Two former Texaco lawyers -- both employees of Chevron -- were indicted last month in Ecuador for fraud related to a purported environmental clean-up used by the company to secure a legal release to avoid liability in the civil suit. The new memo apparently was not considered by the prosecutor in bringing the charges, which are based on evidence of toxic contamination at former Texaco sites in the Amazon that the company had certified as remediated.
The Texaco memorandum -- dated July 17, 1972 and directed at the manager of the company's operations manager in Ecuador -- orders that all previous reports related to oil spills "are to be removed from the Field and Division offices and destroyed." From 1964 to 1990, Texaco operated a large concession in Ecuador's Amazon region that included an extensive network of pipelines, wells and separation stations."

This is good news, because until recently it looked like the law suits would all die soon.
People are dying in Ecuador. Now. Because of this -- this memo -- my lifetime ago.

© 2003 Amazon Watch

"The Shields memo emerged via a discovery process in U.S. federal court in New York in a lawsuit between Chevron and Ecuador's government over who should be held responsible for the civil, liability. Texaco has admitted dumping more than 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways and abandoning more than 900 waste pits.
All told, the amount of oil dumped in Ecuador by Texaco is at least thirty times greater than the amount spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster, according to the plaintiffs in the civil suit. Cancer rates and other health problems in the region are far higher than in other parts of Ecuador, according to health studies presented at the trial"

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