A new wave of oil drilling is moving deeper into the Amazon. Once again, Indigenous communities led by women have courageously stood up to the renewed attack on their lands, rights, and the environment. The international community must stand with them. Join us this summer on a delegation to the Ecuadorian highlands and Amazon basin where we will take a deep-dive into the current grassroots resistance to the exploitative, unsustainable, and toxic practices of extractive industries.

Here’s the scoop:

Ecuador’s state oil company brought in the new year with new oil wells. It began drilling the first of 97 of the planned wells inside a new field of the Yasuní national park, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. This is the second phase of the controversial Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) project (started in 2016) that creeps further into the national park.

Indigenous women organized in opposition to the drilling and recently secured a meeting with the country’s president, Lenin Moreno. They presented Moreno with a list of demands enshrined in the “Mandate of Amazonian Women” that calls on the government to end oil and mining projects on their ancestral lands as well as conduct official investigations into attacks against Indigenous leaders.

This delegation will meet with Indigenous women leaders from Sarayaku at the forefront of this effort. We will also meet with leading environmental NGOs including Acción Ecológica, currently under significant pressure from the Ecuadorian government to curb its activities.

Just a few weeks ago on March 13, Ecuador launched a new bidding round for foreign companies to develop oil and gas reserves in Ecuador’s eastern Amazon region as well as in the gulf of Guayaquil. In light of this development, our delegation will grapple with the legacy of multinational oil companies in the country, with special attention on Chevron — a Global Exchange Top 10 Corporate Criminal.

We will visit oil pits where Texaco, acquired by Chevron in 2001, drilled using obsolete technology and substandard environmental controls from 1964 to 1990. We will see the devastation that the subsequent dumping of 18.5 billion gallons of highly toxic waste sludge into streams and rivers caused – and causes – local people dependant on the water for drinking, bathing, and fishing. We will also be introduced to some of the most successful local and international efforts to bring environmental and social justice to the Andes and the Amazon.

Please consider how you might take action for the earth and Indigenous people, whether by joining a delegation, sending a message to President Moreno, or demanding multinationals cease funding the destruction of the Amazon and violation of indigenous rights.


New York City-based plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger is requesting an oral argument on Chevron Corp.’s recent motion for a separate and expedited trial.

Chevron, in a memorandum filed March 14, is seeking bifurcation on its request for a declaratory judgment that an Ecuadorian court’s multibillion-dollar judgment against it is “non-recognizable” and “unenforceable.”

The other trial would focus on the company’s racketeering claims against defendants Donziger; his Ecuadorian colleagues Pablo Fajardo and Luis Yanza; organizations the Amazon Defense Front and Selva Viva; and Stratus Consulting, a Boulder, Colo.-based consulting firm.

Chevron, in its 17-page memorandum, argued that bifurcation promotes the interests of “convenience” and “judicial efficiency,” and “expeditious resolution of the manner and order of trial is necessary to structure discovery and other pre-trial matters and to allow for prompt and orderly resolution of the case.”

Bifurcation and prompt resolution of the declaratory judgment claim is especially necessary, Chevron said, because representatives of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs “have made clear that they will not abide by this court’s preliminary injunction, vowing that they will ‘use all the relevant legal tools available in Ecuador and all over the world to accomplish enforcement of the judgment in whatever part of the world where it’s most convenient and where Chevron has assets.'”

Donziger, in his two-page request, says the court’s March 11 order to show cause indicated that Chevron’s motion would be submitted “without the need for any argument in open court, unless otherwise ordered.” Donziger said he is requesting such an order.

He submits that “oral argument is appropriate given the complexity of the issues presented by Chevron’s motion.”

In particular, Donziger’s counsel says they would like to address the decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Republic of Ecuador, et al., v. Chevron Corp., et al., and “any impact that decision may have on this case and, specifically, on Chevron’s request for bifurcation.”

The Second Circuit ruled Thursday that Chevron could proceed with its international arbitration dispute with Ecuador.

An Ecuadorian court, in a ruling last month, ordered the company to pay $8.6 billion for environmental damage caused to the country’s Amazon region by Chevron’s Texaco unit.

Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadorians suing Chevron, said following the appeals court’s ruling last week that the decision was “a critically important milestone” for the plaintiffs “in their 18-year battle to hold Chevron accountable for the world’s worst oil-related disaster.”

“The Appellate Court found against Chevron on several key factual issues that undermine the company’s defenses both in Ecuador and potentially in various enforcement courts where it faces an $18 billion liability,” she said in a statement.

“First, the panel found that Chevron’s promises several years ago to a U.S. federal court that it would submit to Ecuadorian jurisdiction and pay damages are ‘enforceable’ against Chevron. Second, the panel found that Chevron is the same company as Texaco and therefore is responsible for any misconduct committed in Ecuador by Texaco, despite Chevron’s fallacious arguments to the contrary. Third, the panel found that the Lago Agrio litigation in Ecuador is the same as the original lawsuit filed in New York federal court in 1993, thereby nullifying Chevron’s argument that it is not bound by the Ecuador judgment because the cases are different.

“Finally, the panel expressly confirmed that the environmental claims of the Ecuador plaintiffs cannot be resolved via international arbitration where they are not a party — thereby striking a blow against Chevron’s public claim that arbitration protects it from enforcement of the Ecuador judgment,” Hinton said.

Donziger, in an accompanying 30-page memorandum also filed Monday, railed against Chevron.

He said that Chevron alleges his life work for the last 17 years “is a fraud and akin to organized crime.”

“Having gotten as much bang for its buck out of making these false and malicious allegations as it could possibly get, Chevron now wants to avoid actually having to prove any of its claims and to duck any discovery into its own pervasive wrongdoing,” Donziger wrote.

“Chevron instead wants to put the Republic of Ecuador on trial, because one of its courts had the temerity to issue a detailed, carefully-reason judgment condemning both Chevron’s environmental violations and its years of litigation misconduct undertaken to avoid liability for its environmental damage.”

Chevron alleges that Donziger and the other defendants are leading a fraudulent litigation and public relations campaign against the company, and filed a lawsuit against them last month under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other state and federal laws.

The company’s suit alleges that the defendants, and certain “non-party co-conspirators,” have used the Ecuador lawsuit to threaten Chevron, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate Chevron employees — all to extort a financial settlement from the company.

Chevron, in its memo seeking bifurcation, suggested that the court could order trial of the non-fraud statutory bases under New York’s Recognition Act, C.P.L.R. 5304, and then resolve the fraud basis for non-recognition either as part of an additional, separate proceeding or as part of a consolidated trial with the RICO and state-law claims.

The company said bifurcation will streamline the proceedings “by narrowing the claims to be resolved in the first instance and eliminating certain purported defenses as irrelevant to their disposition.”

If the court decides to bifurcate, Chevron requested that it set a schedule that will result in resolution within the next three to six months.

Donziger says the three- to six-month timeframe proposed by the company does not provide him and the other defendants with nearly enough time, “especially given that Chevron has had a 15-month head start on discovery” and that there is a preliminary injunction in place protecting Chevron in the interim. –by Jessica M Karmasek

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

This article was originally posted at:

Lead photo depicts Steven Donziger, left, and Joe Berlinger, director of the movie “Crude,” on the right.


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In a ruling that shocked human rights and environmental justice advocates the world over, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan granted Chevron an injunction on Monday preventing native Ecuadoreans from collecting $18.2 billion for oil contamination caused by the company in the Amazon. Our Allies with the Amazon Defense Coalition had this powerful statement to share in response to the judge’s ruling:

“This decision is a slap in the face to the democratic nation of Ecuador and the thousands of Ecuadorian citizens who have courageously fought for 18 years to hold Chevron accountable for committing the world’s worst environmental disaster. The trampling of due process in the court’s refusal to consider key evidence or hold a hearing to determine the facts is an inappropriate exercise of judicial power that will harm the United States’ relationship with Latin America and other parts of the world. It disregards the scholarly and comprehensive 188-page opinion of Ecuadorian Judge Nicolas Zambrano, a well-respected member of Ecuador’s judiciary. It also ignores key evidence that Chevron has committed a series of frauds in Ecuador to cover up its unlawful misconduct.

“We want to emphasize that after appeals in Ecuador the Ecuadorian plaintiffs retain their full right to lawfully enforce the judgment of their own country’s courts in any of the dozens of nations around the world where Chevron has assets. In the meantime, we will appeal the decision on multiple grounds.”

Take Action! Join Rainforest Action Network as it seeks to Expose Chevron’s Human Rights Hit Men! at the heart of Chevron’s attack.

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post September 28, 2010 as a follow up to an earlier article.

Earlier today, MarketWatch ran a story about my and four others’ arrests at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting in Houston on May 25, 2010.

The article by John Letzing was entitled: “Chevron shareholder activist faces jail time.”

With the subtitle: “Are criminal charges the best way to deal with a meeting disruption?”

It questioned the decision by Chevron to use such extreme tactics in dealing with its critics.

A few hours later, The Wall Street Journal picked up the story, but applied a new headline, with a decidedly different twist on the story: “Activist Faces Charges in Chevron Meeting Outburst.”

Moreover, the much shortened article leaves out key portions of the journalist’s original story, including these:

“Four other protesters also were arrested outside of Chevron’s gathering and face trespassing charges, according to media reports at the time. But Juhasz was unique as a stockholder pulled from the meeting, the reports said… Each charge against her is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail, though the sentences in the case would run concurrently if she is convicted, according to the Harris County district attorney’s office.

Juhasz stands out as a particularly active critic, who has co-authored exhaustive “alternative annual reports” for Chevron, detailing the “lives lost, wars fought, communities destroyed, environments decimated, livelihoods ruined and political voices silences” because of the company. Until recently, her program was called the Chevron program at Global Exchange, though it was recently renamed. Juhasz said the name change of the program is not related to her arrest. However, she pointed out that her day-to-day duties have been constricted by her status as a defendant. “I’m definitely being limited in my actions,” she commented.

Boston University Prof. James Post said he can’t recall a similar case where a shareholder activist had criminal charges filed against them: “A company almost never wins in a case like that.”

Companies are better off, Post suggested, when they allow critics to vent and then move on. “Corporate democracy can be an ugly thing,” he added.”

The MarketWatch story has led to a very interesting discussion on corporate accountability, free speech, and the rights of shareholders. Some 200 comments have already been posted.

There are, of course, key parts of the story left out of even the MarketWatch piece. I cannot address the arrest here due to the charges against me, but you can read the original press release that The True Cost Chevron network released at the time of the events, “Chevron Denies Access to Shareholder Representatives in a Bid to Silence the Truth About Its Operations Global Community Leaders Barred, Ejected and Arrested from Chevron Annual Meeting,” to get a much fuller understanding.

Please feel encouraged to post a comment on this site, MarketWatch, and/or the Wall Street Journal!

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