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Billion dollar claim for environmental damage in Ecuador comes to Ontario

A group of Ecuadorians has filed an $18-billion lawsuit against Chevron in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, reports EcoLog newsletter.


A group of Ecuadorians has filed an $18-billion lawsuit against Chevron in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, reports EcoLog newsletter.

The $18-billion suit, filed May 30, 2012, is an attempt to force Chevron to pay for a class action award made in an Ecuadorian court to 30,000 residents of Sucumbios Province. They sought compensation from Chevron for environmental damage following 18 years of petroleum exploration in their region by Chevron’s subsidiary, Texaco.

The Ecuadorians have brought the case to Ontario to try and have the judgment against Chevron enforced. Chevron no longer has assets in Ecuador, but has billions of assets in Canada, including in the oil sands and offshore Newfoundland.

For its part, Chevron says it remediated the area to the full satisfaction of the Ecuadorian government and was released from all liability. The California company also says that the Ecuador judgement “is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate.” Chevron argues, for example, that the Ecuadorian court judgment was partly ghost-written by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

An article on Chevron’s website about the lawsuit concludes: “Chevron does not believe that the Ecuador ruling is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law. The company will continue to seek to hold accountable the perpetrators of this fraud… Chevron will resist any enforcement effort and seek to hold anyone who would attempt to enforce the fraudulent judgment in another jurisdiction accountable to the full extent of the law.”

To see Chevron’s statement, click here.