From 1964 to 1990, Texaco Petroleum Co. had oil production sites in in Lago Agrio, Ecuador´s Amazon region. However, when they left, the region’s soil and water were contaminated with toxic chemicals due to Texaco’s inadequate waste management practices. In 1996, the first lawsuit was filed against Texaco. In 2001 Chevron acquired Texaco but neglected its responsibility for its new subsidiary.
More lawsuits followed, Chevron sometimes being the plaintiff and sometimes the defendant.
Finally, in February 2011, Chevron was fined to pay $ 8 billion by an Ecuadorian court as compensation for severe environmental damages caused in 1964-1990 by then Texaco in Ecuador1. Chevron refuted the judgment and refused to pay the fines claiming a “lack of judicial integrity,” fraud, and misconduct2
In January 2012, an appeals court doubled the fine. Now Chevron had to pay to a total of 18 billion dollar because Chevron declined to offer a public apology.
The company kept rejecting the court´s ruling, alleging “politicization and corruption of Ecuador’s judiciary“. It claimed that the ruling was a political decision based on fraud and corruption.
In November 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but again lowered the fine to 9.51 billion USD.
A US federal judge barred the Ecuadorian clients from enforcing the judgment. Again, this decision is being appealed.
- The judgement was based on Ecuadorian law such as the Código Civil, theCódigo de Salud, the Ley de Agua, but also on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. [↩]
- Download a summary of the plaintiff´s Final Argument. Highlightings by the Amazon Defense Coalition [↩]