Green MEPs Jan Lambeth and Kieth Taylor both signed a letter from the Friends ofEcuador:
After 20 years of struggle, we demand justice for the Ecuadorian communities in their legal battle against Chevron
We deplore the on-going and systematic attempts of Chevron to avoid paying compensation to the communities in the Ecuadorian Amazonian severely affected by the oil giant’s dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste there over decades.
This is a stark illustration of how huge corporate power can deny justice to the victims of social and environmental catastrophes.
Between 1964 and 1990, oil company Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – caused one of the world’s greatest environmental disasters. The oil in the waste product dumped in the Ecuadorian Amazon over this period is estimated to be 30 times the amount spilt in the Exxon Valdez disaster
This created a social disaster for the poor farmers and indigenous people and living there by contaminating the rivers used for drinking, bathing and fishing and which resulted in serious health problems.
Chevron’s lead representative in Ecuador admitted that billions of gallons of waste product were poured into the Amazon waterways. But it never carried out a meaningful clean up.
Twenty years ago this month, tens of thousands of local people organized themselves into the Amazon Defense Front and filed private legal actions to demand compensation.
Twenty years on justice is still being denied
After decades of campaigning, in 2011, an independent Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay $19bn in compensation and remediation – a figure similar to the amount BP paid out for its spill in the Gulf of Mexico
But this corporate giant refuses to pay. Reports indicate that Chevron is spending hundreds of millions of dollars – more than it has paid on any clean up – on hundreds of lawyers and on political lobbying to deny its responsibilities. It has even taken legal action against the Ecuadorian government seeking to make it liable for any compensation that Chevron must pay, a move that if successful could devastate Ecuador’s public spending on health, education and other services.
We believe Chevron should not be allowed to escape justice. Its time Chevron compensated the Amazon communities for the vast damage it caused.
Caroline Lucas MP also signed an early day motion stating the UK Parliament “notes the huge environmental and social damage caused by oil giant Chevron-Texaco in the Ecuadorian Amazon; further notes that Chevron-Texaco admits to dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorian Amazon between 1964 and 1990; is concerned that this contaminated the rivers used by local people for drinking, bathing and fishing resulting in numerous health issues for the people living there; believes this is one of the world’s greatest environmental disasters with the oil dumped estimated to be roughly 30 times the amount spilt in the Exxon Valdez disaster; is concerned that Chevron-Texaco never carried out a meaningful clean up; congratulates the 30,000 local people who organised themselves into Amazon Defence Front and filed legal action against Chevron-Texaco to demand compensation; regrets that over the past 20 years Chevron-Texaco has not settled but used its financial advantage to oppose providing any compensation to the Amazonian communities; further notes that after decades of campaigning in 2011, an independent Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron-Texaco to pay $19 billion in compensation to the affected people; is concerned by reports that Chevron-Texaco has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in legal and lobbying fees to prevent compensation being paid; further notes that in contrast BP established a $20 billion fund to settle claims following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; and calls for Chevron-Texaco to settle the compensation payment to the Amazon communities for the damage caused.”