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The True Story of Chevron's Ecuador Disaster

While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. To save money, Texaco chose to use environmental practices that were obsolete, did not meet industry standards, and were illegal in Ecuador and the United States.

The result was, and continues to be, one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet. Contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface streams has caused local indigenous and campesinopeople to suffer a wave of mouth, stomach and uterine cancer, birth defects, and spontaneous miscarriages. Chevron has never cleaned up the mess it inherited, and its oil wastes continue to poison the rainforest ecosystem.

Today, Chevron is a corporate criminal on the run. It has been found guilty by Ecuadorian courts and ordered to pay $19 billion. The company is now running from an international legal dragnet to force the company to pay for the vast task of cleanup and remediation of the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle. The Ecuadorians have filed lawsuits in Canada and Brazil to seek seizure of Chevron's assets for this purpose, and more lawsuits in other nations are expected soon.

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