U.S. Water News Online
QUITO, Ecuador -- A court-appointed expert has recommended that Chevron Corp. pay up to $16 billion for allegedly polluting the Ecuadorean Amazon. Chevron called the expert biased, and the trial a farce.
The class-action lawsuit by 30,000 jungle settlers and Indians alleges the San Ramon, California-based company failed to clean up billions of gallons of toxic wastewater produced by Texaco Petroleum Co., which Chevron acquired in 2001.
The court in the jungle town of Lago Agrio confirmed the multibillion-dollar damage total to The Associated Press. It was tallied by geological engineer Richard Cabrera, but has yet to be approved by a judge.
Plaintiffs lawyer Pablo Fajardo told the AP that Cabrera recommends Chevron pay at least $8 billion in damages, and possibly another $8 billion representing company savings by operating recklessly.
“This is a significant advance because it gets us closer to the end of the trial,” Fajardo said.
Chevron denies the allegations and says Texaco, which ended its Ecuador operations in 1992 after three decades, followed Ecuadorean environmental laws in a $40 million cleanup, which the government approved in 1998.
Click here to subscribe to e-Water News Weekly!