Chevron Defeats Amazon Shareholder Resolution

A resolution from institutional investors to force ChevronTexaco to compile a report on its operations in Ecuador's Amazon region, where indigenous communities are suing it for alleged environmental damage, has been defeated for the second year running. The resolution came from a coalition of California's State Controller, New York's State Comptroller and Trillium Asset Management, as well as human rights groups Amnesty International and the Amazon Defense Coalition.


California State Controller Steve Westly said he was "concerned that ChevronTexaco's decision to engage in a lengthy legal battle over Texaco's past behavior may cause damage to the company's reputation and further erode shareowner value." New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi added that each day this "environmental and health crisis continues, ChevronTexaco's future business opportunities abroad are more at risk." Chevron says it disagrees.


Plaintiffs accuse a subsidiary of Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – of contaminating drinking water by disposing of oily wastewater in open pits when it operated the Amazon fields from 1972-90. Chevron denies the accusations and says it spent $40 million on a cleanup approved by Ecuador. Plaintiffs estimate cleanup costs at $6 billion. The two sides are embroiled in a myriad of suits and countersuits in Ecuador and the US (EC Dec.17,p11).

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