Chevron vs. Chevron: Oil Company Digs for Truth in Ecuador Case, and Finds it
I have written in this blog how the Golden State's largest corporation, Chevron, is facing increasing scrutiny over human rights abuses and the environmental impacts of its operations around the globe. As has been well reported Chevron is facing its biggest liability in Ecuador - where the company is facing a $27 billion lawsuit over its responsibility for billions gallons of toxic waste dumped into the Amazon rainforest.
Documents presented this week at a U.S. federal court detail the systemic pollution from Texaco's oil operations in the area (Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001) and the necessity of a full scale clean up. That's right. While preparing to depart Ecuador after almost three decades of operations, the company commissioned independent audits of the environmental impacts of its operations in the region. Although somewhat technical, you can read the audits here and here.
Here are some highlights from Chevron's (then Texaco) own audits: "[Texaco's] operation included the intentional burning of crude oil from spills and contained in pits. This operation usually created large amounts of black smoke and soot that can potentially impair the environment and human health."
"All twenty-two production stations are currently, or have at some time, discharged oily produced water to the environment and flared excess gas. The stations have produced a total of approximately 1.4 billion barrels of oil, 250 million cubic feet of gas and 375 million barrels of produced water during the period 1964 to 1990."
"The audit identified hydrocarbon contamination requiring remediation at all production facilities and a majority of the drill sites."
"Produced water (which contains carcinogens and toxic heavy metals) is being discharged to the environment in all cases." "Produced waste is then passed through a series of open, unlined pits. The remaining oil emulsion and produced water is discharged into a local creek or river or in some instances directly into the jungle...Produced water has historically not been tested prior to disposal..."
"Contamination of soil and water was observed at well sites, production stations and along roadways, flowlines and secondary pipelines." "Workover, completion wastes, salt solutions and oil/water emulsions have historically been disposed of into well site pits. ... Little maintenance has reportedly been done on any of the pits at the well sites."
These documents say two things. One, if Chevron is genuinely digging for truth, they are only going to find more evidence that shows one thing: they are guilty.
Two, these documents not only illustrate Chevron's liability; they demonstrate the company's knowledge of this liability when they acquired Texaco. Usually, Expert analysis paid for by the liable company does not just slip though the cracks when purchasing that company for $36 billion.
Chevron knew what they where going to be responsible for and they schemed a plan when they purchased Texaco to try to evade that responsibility. So how will Chevron try to deny this round of evidence? They've already used up spy cams, real spies, a dozen PR firms, and faux newscasts. There isn't much left for Chevron to do...except the right thing. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rtarbotton/detail?entry_id=71574#ixz...