From 1964 to 1990, Chevron was involved in extracting oil from a very delicate region of the northeast Amazon rainforest. Due to the results of the methods used in the oil extraction, irreversible damage has been done to the Amazonian ecosystem (specifically many of its streams and rivers). On February 14th of 2011, Ecuadorian courts finally found Chevron guilty on charges for environmental contamination. As a result Chevron is being mandated to pay a $9 billion dollar sanction to the Ecuadorian communities to pay for environmental remediation, and provide health care and potable water to the thousands of people affected by Chevron’s toxic legacy in the region.
Since Chevrons departure from Ecuador they have abandoned 900 unlined waste pits in the Amazon rainforest and have neglected to establish an environmental response plan this catastrophe. There have even been reports of Chevron officials instructing field workers to destroy evidence of oil spills.
Having personally been in Ecuador for a month during the summer of 2010 and experiencing the beauty of this South American country first hand, it is unfortunate that such a unique environment is being threatened by the damages of a large oil company such as Chevron. During my month long stay, I was fortunate enough to participate in a guided tour of the Ecuadorian rainforest. During this tour I was delighted to see an abundant variety of wildlife and vegetation (much of which is unique to this region of South America) and was reminded how sobering it would be if a remarkable ecosystem such as this, was permanently impaired because of the Western world’s addiction to oil.
If you would like to find out more please check out this website: www.chevroninecuador.com
Note: To date, Chevron has refused to pay the $9 million and continues to battle the decision in the courts and in its public relations.