Chevron, Ecuador prepare for legal battle

Steve Chiotakis Feb 15, 2011
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Chevron, Ecuador prepare for legal battle

Steve Chiotakis Feb 15, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A judge in Ecuador has ordered U.S. oil giant Chevron to pay $9.5 billion for pollution in the Amazon River basin there. But Chevron says there’s corruption in the case, and it’s not gonna pay the hefty fine.

Angel Gonzalez is with Dow Jones Newswire. He’s with us this morning from Houston to talk about the case. Hi.

ANGEL GONZALEZ: Hi Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: Remind us what this case is about and how far back it dates?

GONZALEZ: It’s a two decades long case that started in 1993 after Texaco left Ecuador. Residents of the Amazon sued the company for environmental damages. And the case was kicked around between several United States courts, ended up in Ecuador, and now after 17 years, its gotten to the point where there’s a ruling.

CHIOTAKIS: And Chevron of course bought Texaco in 2001 so now this is Chevron’s case. How much weight does this ruling hold and is Chevron going to have to pay this money?

GONZALEZ: Chevron has been saying that they expected this ruling. So what they have been doing the past couple of years is they have mounted a massive legal effort to try to thwart any kind of danger that they are going to end of having to pay anything. What they will try to do is to convince every court in the world that that ruling in Ecuador is not fair, so that it cannot be enforced anywhere else.

CHIOTAKIS: So this is far from being over. What’s next?

GONZALEZ: The plaintiffs have said they’re going to appeal because they do not thing the award is enough to repair the environmental damages. Chevron is going to appeal because they don’t think that is fair, and after that, it could take years in international courts. I mean the plaintiffs could go to South Africa they could go to Australia, they could go to Brazil, they could come to the United States to try to get a ruling, and Chevron will have to fight them in every court.

CHIOTAKIS: So this $9.5 billion that we’re talking about is pretty moot right now.

GONZALEZ: Yes.

CHIOTAKIS: Angel Gonzalez from Dow Jones Newswire in Houston. Thank you Angel.

GONZALEZ: Thank you Steve.

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