Tuesday, October 19, 2010

“We Agree”, Chevron Needs To Clean Up Its Mess

Chevron’s “We Agree” advertising campaign was designed by Chevron’s public relations team to try to convince us that Chevron is more than just an oil company. We are supposed to believe that Chevron cares about people and the environment. Chevron’s strategy was very simple: ignore disastrous environmental record and talk about all the good things Chevron could, but of course will never do.
Activists from The Yes Man launched their own website and sent out faux press release mocking Chevron’s ads. The website was made to look like it’s a part of Chevron’s campaign but instead of empty promises it is based on truth and the real image of Chevron people should see.
Some journalists got fooled by the faux press release and this morning everyone is talking about it. Great!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The True Cost of Chevron

The oil waste Chevron left behind in the Ecuadorian rain forest is making people sick. According to American expert Dr. Daniel Rourke 10,000 people are at risk of getting cancer. The longer Chevron refuses to clean up, the bigger this environmental crisis gets.

Read more about Dr. Rourke’s findings here

Her leg amputated because of a cancerous tumor, Modesta Briones sits in her house near Parahuaco oil well #2 in the Ecuadoran Amazon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Terrifying Truth

Last month Chevron’s lawyer Andrea Neuman deposed an environmental expert William Power. The lawyer for the Amazonian communities suing Chevron took the opportunity and cross-examined Mr. Powers. His testimony revealed some horrifying truths about Chevron’s contamination in the Ecuadorian rain forest. Below you can read a few quotes, visit Chevron in Ecuador for more details and to read how Mr. Power’s testimony sent Chevron’s lawyers into total panic.

Q: Now, when Chevron-Texaco designed its pits in the Ecuadorian Amazon, what design did it use? 

Powers: Dug a hole in the dirt and deposited the drilling muds in the unlined hole.

Q: And if Chevron-Texaco was designing those pits in the United States, would it have been able to dig a pit in the – and put in the drilling muds as you described?

Powers: No.

Q: What's the consequence of Chevron's design of its pits in the Lago Agrio concession?

Powers: Two consequences: the leeching of the chemicals into the ground, and ultimately into the ground water; and the overflow of the pits due to lack of maintenance and rain water and overflowing directly into the drainage channels surrounding that pit.

Q: And what's the basis for your conclusions concerning the Chevron-Texaco's pits?

Powers: Having viewed the pits and reviewed the nature of how those pits were designed, utilized, and the fact that – it is uncontested that the pits were left with drilling mud in them.

Q: And when Chevron developed the oil field in Ecuador, did it do so in conformity with standards for treatment of production water that were in place in the United States at the time that it was building its infrastructure in Ecuador?

Powers: No.

Q: Can you describe the ways in which Chevron's Ecuadorian concession fell below standards it would have been required to meet if that field were in the United States?

Powers: Based on the salinity and the produced water from the field, the company would have been required to reinject that water into a subsurface formation. Could not have operated that oil field or produced a single barrel of oil without having that produced water injection system operational.

Q: By failing to reinject production water in the Lago Agrio concession, what impact did that have on the environment in Lago Agrio?

Powers: It contaminated the surface water at the points where it was injected, not only with the high salinity of the produced water in an environment that has almost no natural salinity, but the trace contaminants of heavy metals and oil also contributed to the generalized contamination of that surface water.

Q: If you include the produced water in your comparison between the discharge into the environment from Chevron's Lago Agrio concession, when you compare that to the Exxon-Valdez oil discharge from that catastrophe, how would you compare them?

Powers: Both the produced water and the crude oil are toxic. The – you can argue about the relative toxicity of them both. But the amount of toxic liquids that should not have been in the environment in Ecuador was at least 30 times the quantity or the volume of crude that was spilled in the Exxon-Valdez disaster.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chevron Misleads U.S. Courts with Inaccurate Translation

I just read that Chevron’s lawyers submitted inaccurate translation of Pablo Fajardo’s comments to U.S. Federal court as evidence. By inaccurate I mean changed to fit Chevron’s lies and completely different from what was actually said. Ohhh… the audacity! How can unethical behavior like this go unpunished? How far will Chevron be allowed to go before somebody says enough?!

See Amazon Defense Coalition’s press release below.

Chevron Misleads U.S. Courts with Inaccurate Translation in Multi-Billion Dollar Ecuador Contamination Lawsuit
Gibson Dunn’s Aggressive Legal Strategy Backfires In Federal Court

Amazon Defense Coalition
1 October September 2010 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at 703-798-3109 or Karen@hintoncommunications.com

New York, New York – Chevron has been submitting an inaccurate and misleading translation to U.S. federal courts as part of its effort to evade liability in the multi-billion dollar Ecuador environmental lawsuit, according to court papers filed recently.

Chevron’s lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who recently took over the Ecuador litigation for the company, submitted a highly misleading and inaccurate translation of lead Ecuadorian attorney Pablo Fajardo describing the role of court-appointed expert Richard Cabrera. Attacking Cabrera, who in 2008 submitted a damages assessment against Chevron of $27 billion, has been the centerpiece of the oil giant’s strategy to discredit the Ecuadorian judicial system to defeat enforcement of an expected adverse judgment.

Gibson Dunn brags on its website that its litigators in the Ecuador case have been described by American Lawyer magazine as the “Game Changers”; the firm notes that “clients in deep trouble turn to Gibson Dunn for fresh, aggressive thinking and innovative rescues.”

In a brief filed on Sept. 28 by representatives of the Amazonian communities in federal courts in New York and elsewhere, the plaintiffs blast Chevron for its erroneous translation of comments made by Fajardo. According to Chevron’s translation of a 2007 meeting, Fajardo told a group of scientists in Quito that Cabrera would simply “sign the report and review it.”

According to an accurate translation of the exchange, Fajardo actually said that what Cabrera “will do is give his criteria… right… his opinion, and sign the report, and review as well.”

Chevron also excluded from its court submission the contemporaneous translation of Fajardo during the meeting, which verifies that Chevron’s translation was manipulated.

"What Fajardo actually said in the meeting is radically different from what Chevron claimed he said via its bogus translation," said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the communities. "Once again, Chevron is misrepresenting facts to courts around the country in support of its contrived 'fraud' narrative."

"When the facts don't fit the contrived narrative, Chevron's lawyers seem content to just make them up," she added.

Chevron has claimed to U.S. courts that ex parte contacts with experts in Ecuador is illegal, when in fact the practice was commonly used by both parties and sanctioned by the court, said Hinton. Lawyers on both sides of the dispute were invited by the court to provide materials to Cabrera and other experts; Cabrera and these other experts adopted some of the materials provided by the parties.

The plaintiffs also have submitted evidence that Chevron's lawyers, on a regular basis, met ex parte with judges overseeing the trial.

This is not the first time that Chevron has manipulated the meaning of translations for legal or public relations purposes.

In 2009, Chevron accused the Ecuadorian judge then presiding over the case of saying an appeal by Chevron of an adverse decision would only be a "formality" when what he actually said was the parties would have to observe the "formalities" of the appeals process. Chevron then used the misleading translation to claim to the media that the judge had "fixed" the trial.

So far this year Chevron has sought to depose 23 persons in the U.S. associated with the Ecuador case, including two lawyers who have represented the plaintiffs.

Chevron’s strategy of using U.S. discovery rules to harass the Amazonian communities in Ecuador – termed “abusive litigation” by the plaintiffs -- has not gone unnoticed. One U.S. federal magistrate judge recently ruled that Chevron’s discovery strategy is “spiraling out of control” and is an attempt to circumvent the rules of Ecuador’s courts, where Chevron had the trial moved after it was originally filed in U.S. federal court in 1993.