Los Angeles, CA – Chevron’s Board of Directors were put on notice at the company’s annual meeting yesterday that the company is legally required to notify the SEC and their shareholders of the law suit and the environmental liabilities it would inherit following the merger with Texaco with respect to hundreds of contaminated sites left behind by Texaco in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Atossa Soltani, Executive Director of Amazon Watch who spoke at the Annual Meeting, asked Chevron’s management to disclose the serious liabilities in the Ecuadorian Amazon and urged the company to send a delegation to investigate the extensive contamination caused by Texaco during its operations from 1972 to 1992. She also presented the Board the 800-page book produced by the plaintiffs entitled After the Gold Rush, which documents in detail each of the contaminated sites and their location.
Chevron’s Chairman David J. O’Reilly thanked Soltani for presenting the information and said that the company “is aware of the case and will review the documents.”
In February, Cristobal Bonifaz, co-counsel for the Plaintiffs in the pending class action law suit filed on behalf of the indigenous and local inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador – Aguinda, et al. v. Texaco, Inc., and Jota et al. v. Texaco, Inc. – sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding Chevron’s failure to disclose liabilities which have the potential to “represent a value considerably higher than twenty per cent of the assets of Texaco, Inc.” The letter states “Texaco left more than three hundred and fifty contaminates sites in the rainforest, sites which continue to this day to pollute the drinking water of the region. Thousands of people of the rainforest are currently suffering a number of diseases, including cancer and dermatological problems as a result of Texaco’s actions.”
The letter also points to the Exxon Valdez case, which he says “pales in comparison with this disaster.” In the Exxon Valdez case, a jury awarded more than a hundred and eighty million dollars in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs and awarded an additional sum of five billion dollars as a result of the recklessness of Exxon’s actions.
Texaco extracted more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil from the once-pristine Amazon rainforest in Northeastern Ecuador. In order to save millions of dollars in extraction costs, Texaco simply dumped the toxic wastes from its operations into the environment on a daily basis for twenty years.
Last month, a delegation from Amazon Watch toured the contaminated sites and brought back visual evidence of Texaco’s toxic legacy. Background information may found at www.texacorainforest.org . For further information, photos, videos, or the book After the Gold Rush (in CD-ROM) contact the following groups:
Co-Counsel for the plaintiffs Steven Donziger: 212-369-6181 Cristobal Bonifaz: 413-253-5626 email@example.com
Centro de Derechos Economicos y Sociales (www.cesr.org)
Chris Jochnick: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paulina Garzon: email@example.com Tel: (593 2) 563-517; Fax: 560-449;
General E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frente de la Defensa de la Amazonia (www.ecuanex.net.ec/fda)
President: Luis Yanza (593-9) 803-140 cell phone (593) 6 831 930 email@example.com
Amazon Watch (www.amazonwatch.org) Kevin Koenig: Kevin@amazonwatch.org (310) 455-0617
Oxfam America Gabrielle Watson (617) 728-2481 firstname.lastname@example.org