February 14th is a date usually associated with chocolate, flowers and the exchange of Valentine cards. But this February 14th is special, one that now marks the day when a historic verdict was passed down by the Ecuador court against Chevron.

Today, a judge in the Ecuadorian Amazon ruled that Chevron was responsible for polluting the Ecuadorean jungle and ordered Chevron to pay more than $9 billion in damages.

This ruling is in favor of the residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region who have spent the last 18 years seeking damages for crude oil pollution. Chevron has denied the allegations of environmental damage.

From San Francisco to New York and the UK, news is spreading fast about this momentous verdict.

Our friends at Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network had this to say about the ruling in a joint statement released earlier today:

As of today, Chevron’s guilt for extensive oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest is official. It is time Chevron takes responsibility for these environmental and public health damages, which they have fought for the past 18 years.

Today’s ruling in Ecuador against Chevron proves overwhelmingly that the oil giant is responsible for billions (of) gallons of highly toxic waste sludge deliberately dumped into local streams and rivers, which thousands depend on for drinking, bathing, and fishing.

Chevron has spent the last 18 years waging unprecedented public relations and lobbying campaigns to avoid cleaning up the environmental and public health catastrophe it left in the Amazon rainforest. Today’s guilty verdict sends a loud and clear message: It is time Chevron clean up its disastrous mess in Ecuador.

Today’s case is historic and unprecedented. It is the first time Indigenous people have sued a multinational corporation in the country where the crime was committed and won.

Today’s historic ruling against Chevron is a testament to the strength of the Ecuadorian people who have spent 18 years bringing Chevron to justice while suffering the effects of the company’s extensive oil contamination.

Though this ruling is in favor of the residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region, those who have worked hard to get this verdict passed acknowledge that it’s not time to celebrate, but rather, it’s time to demand that Chevron pay up. There is more work to be done, and a long road lay ahead.

Rally Tomorrow at Chevron: Help Declare “Chevron’s guilty!” at Chevron’s headquarters

Global Exchange supports the following call to action from Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network:

If you’re in the California Bay Area, please join others on Tue Feb 15th to gather at Chevron’s headquarters and declare “Chevron’s guilty!”

When: Tuesday, February 15th 11:30am
6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
San Ramon, CA
Where: You can either meet there or join the brigade at 10:00am as it departs on a bio-diesel bus near Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.
Contact: They have limited space on the bus, so if you’d like to join, call Maria at 202-257-8061.

In the world of organizing against Big Oil, victories often seem far too rare. Thus, when they do occur, we must mark them, celebrate them, and ensure that they stick.

Chevron announced on Friday that it will withdraw from all of its coal operations by the end of 2011.

This is a crucial victory.

We began exposing Chevron’s dirty coal secret in 2009 in our first True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report.

We then reached out to those communities on the front lines of Chevron’s current and planned coal operations, who told their own stories in our 2010 Alternative Annual Report.

John Kinney of Black Warrior Riverkeeper in Alabama described Chevron’s North River Coal Mine in Berry, and its constant toxic waste polluting local ground and surface waters.

Brad Mohrmann of Powder River Basin Sierra Club in Wyoming warned of Chevron’s plans to develop the first new coal mine in the Powder River Basin area in at least a decade. The mine would sit along the Tongue River, an area of both environmental and cultural importance to the Northern Cheyenne Native American community.

Chevron already operates the giant Kemmerer Coal Mine in Wyoming, named one of the most dangerous mines in the nation by Congressman George Miller. This mine was highlighted in our “Thank you, Chevron” Ad campaign by Underground Ads (pictured below.)

Elouise Brown of Dooda Desert Rock in New Mexico wrote of Chevron’s McKinley Mine near Window Rock, 60% of which sits on Navajo land. After 40 years of constant production, the mine is now just about tapped out and concerns now abound as to how the land will be made safe from the deadly contaminants that have been polluting the community for decades.

We made Chevron’s coal operations a central part of our messaging to the press, the public, activists, advocates, policy makers, and Chevron’s shareholders, its board members, and its executives last year, including at Chevron’s Annual Shareholder Meeting.

Together, we demanded that Chevron drop its dirty coal operations – and it did.


Contact Chevron. Thank the company for declaring its plans to sell its coal operations by the end of the year, tell them you’ll be watching to make sure that this pledge is fullfilled, and that the company should now spread this environmental and social commitment to all of its operations.

Contact the groups fighting Chevron’s coal operations
in their own communities and offer your help and support (see links above).

Get Ready! The 2011 Alternative Annual Report is in the works as are plans for Chevron’s 2011 Annual Shareholder Meeting.

Stay connected and learn more about how you can contribute in the weeks to come. Here are a few ways to connect: