Processing Magazine

Chevron Says Expert Biased in Cleanup Case

February 11, 2010
The Associated Press reports that Chevron Corp. has stepped up its offensive against a group that says the oil giant poisoned sections of the Amazon rain forest. After spending months discrediting the political and legal system in Ecuador, where a court is considering a fine against the company, Chevron now claims that a court-appointed expert gave biased testimony in the case. Lawyers representing people affected by the pollution said Chevron is simply making a last-ditch effort to delay what could be a massive penalty against the company. The judgment may reach $27 billion, more than twice the company''s 2009 earnings. The battle over who should clean up a beleaguered swath of the Amazon has tumbled through several courts over the past 17 years. Ecuadoreans blame Texaco, which operated oil fields in the area from 1972 to 1990. Chevron bought Texaco in 2001. Communities near the oil fields say Texaco dumped billions of gallons of toxic wastewater into unlined pits. Their lawyers say the contamination may have led to a spike in cancer rates. Chevron doesn''t dispute that the region was damaged. But Texaco previously paid $40 million to clean up the area and Chevron says Ecuador released the company from any further liability.