Will Chevron and Exxon Ever Be Held Responsible for Decades of Contamination?

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined Chevron $9.5 billion in 2011 should be upheld, according to teleSUR, a Latin American news agency. Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.

Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

A group of Ecuadorians, who represent 30,000 Ecuadorians, has been fighting to hold the oil company responsible and pay for the damage it caused for decades. The legal battle has been tied up in the courts for years. Ecuador's highest court finally upheld the ruling in January 2014, but Chevron refused to pay.

Last spring, the oil giant took the case to a U.S. court, where a federal judge ruled in favor of Chevron because the judge found the Ecuador's litigation team to be engaging in illicit activity. The ruling from The Hague brought good news for the Amazon community suffering from shockingly high cancer rates and other illnesses, and a contaminated water supply.

But now, Chevron has appealed the decision and deliberations will take place at The Hague on April 20. In a strange desperate attempt, Chevron is arguing that not only should it not have to pay for the decades worth of damage, but that the Ecuadorian people should pay Chevron for the destruction caused, according to Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, who spoke about the case with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now!

In another story about oil companies refusing to be held accountable for their actions, Gov. Christie has been heavily criticized for his administration's settlement to clean up what Democracy Now! calls "a century of contamination." State Senators in New Jersey voted to condemn a $225 million settlement reportedly pushed through by the office of Republican Gov. Christie, which saved Exxon Mobil billions of dollars, says Gonzalez. The state quietly agreed to accept less than three percent of the $8.9 billion it had originally sought for pollution at two refinery sites.

Earlier this week, State Senators "asked the judge to reject the deal, calling it 'grossly inappropriate, improper and inadequate,'" reports Gonzalez. Adding insult to injury, Gov. Christie reportedly plans to use much of the money from the settlement to "plug holes in New Jersey's budget instead of for environmental restoration," says Gonzalez.

Watch the this Democracy Now! segment for interviews on both of these cases:


Jon Stewart Hammers Gov. Christie Over Staggering Exxon Spill Settlement

Students Occupy Swarthmore College Demanding Fossil Fuel Divestment

Obama Signs Executive Order to Cut Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 40 Percent

Show Comments ()
Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are developing hybrid electric commercial airplane plane. Airbus

Norway Aims for Electric Planes to Help Slow Climate Change

Norway—home to the world's highest per capita number of all-electric cars—is also planning to go emission-free in the friendly skies.

The Scandinavian country aims to be the first in the world to switch to electric air transport.

Keep reading... Show less
A massive sinkhole in Winkler County, Texas. Google Earth

Large Swath of Texas Oil Patch Rapidly Sinking and Uplifting, Study Finds

West Texas is already home to two giant sinkholes near the town of Wink caused by intensive oil and gas operations. Now, according to an unprecedented study, the "Wink Sinks" might not remain the last in the region.

Geophysicists at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas have found rapid rates of ground movement at various locations across a 4,000-square-mile swath around the two sinkholes. This area is known for processing extractions from the oil-rich Permian Basin.

Keep reading... Show less

Study Shows Some Pesticides More Bee-Safe Than Others, But Are Any Pesticides Eco-Friendly?

A study published Thursday in Current Biology is being hailed in a University of Exeter press release as a major "breakthrough" in developing bee-friendly insecticides. But some environmentalists think the research is asking the wrong questions to begin with.

Keep reading... Show less
Parks & Wildlife Service, Western Australia / Twitter

More Than 140 Whales Dead After Mass Stranding in Western Australia

More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay on the west coast of Australia early Friday morning.

Most of the whales did not survive after beaching themselves, according to Jeremy Chick, incident controller at Western Australia's Parks & Wildlife Service.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

Tech Giant Microsoft Signs Largest Corporate Solar Agreement in the U.S.

By Katrine Tilgaard Petersen

Microsoft has announced the single largest corporate purchase of solar power ever seen in the U.S., signing an agreement with sPower to add 315 MW of electricity via two solar projects in Virginia.

Microsoft has been powered by 100 percent renewable electricity since 2014. In 2015, the tech giant joined RE100, a global corporate leadership initiative by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, now bringing together 130 ambitious companies committed to sourcing entirely renewable power.

Keep reading... Show less

The New Government Omnibus Spending Bill Shows That Science Advocacy Matters

By Yogin Kothari

After a long wait, late Wednesday night, Congress posted a spending agreement for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year. For the most part, we achieved significant victories, especially given the challenging political environment, in repelling proposals that would have directly undermined the role of science in public health and environmental policymaking.

Keep reading... Show less

Pipeline Leaks 42,000 Gallons Into Indiana Stream

Forty-two thousand gallons of diesel spilled from a Marathon Petroleum Corporation pipeline into Big Creek in Posey Creek, Indiana before the leak was detected Tuesday evening, U.S. News & World Report reported Wednesday.

The pipeline was immediately shut off, and workers contained the spill with two booms before it reached the Wabash River.

Keep reading... Show less

Skylines to Switch Off as Millions Connect to the Planet to Celebrate Earth Hour 2018

On Saturday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m. local time, skylines around the world will go dark as millions celebrate WWF's Earth Hour to spark global awareness and action on nature and the environment.

From the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, and the Bird's Nest stadium to Burj Khalifa, thousands of landmarks will switch off their lights in solidarity for the planet, urging individuals, businesses and governments worldwide to move forward the conversations and solutions we need to build a healthy, sustainable future for all.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!