Target: Chief Justice John Roberts
Goal: Thank the U.S. Supreme Court for ending an injunction on global enforcement of a $19 billion Ecuadorean Court judgement against Chevron for large-scale pollution in the Amazon River
The Ecuadorian trial court issued its $19 billion judgment in 2011 after an eight-year trial. The court had used field manuals from the industry in order to find that Texaco (now owned by Chevron) had dumped over 16 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon between 1964 and 1992. This dumping into streams and rivers formed what is called “produced water”, which is a direct cause of cancer that has killed thousands of Ecuadoreans. The plaintiffs in the case are a group made up of 30,000 people who have been affected by drinking this poisoned water for decades. The court additionally found evidence of over 900 abandoned waste pits in the rainforest, filled with over 5.6 million cubic meters of toxic material, which continuously pollute the environment.
After the initial judgement, Chevron refused to pay the amount saying “It seems obvious to us that there will be irreparable harm from seizing boats, seizing ships, seizing tankers, disrupting the distribution stream of Chevron that will affect it not only in the one jurisdiction but around the world…” and has claimed fraud in the proceedings. However, 18 U.S. federal trial courts and the four federal appellate courts have all rejected these claims. A New York federal judge did impose an injuction against the payment in 2010, and Chevron had asked the Supreme Court to uphold that decision this year. In the most recent development of this ongoing resistance, the Supreme Court denied the injunction.
This is a victory for the 30,000 affected Ecuadorean plaintiffs. Chevron’s representatives have themselves admitted to the factual correctness of the pollution caused by 16 billion gallons of dumping, and should therefore be made to pay despite any negative impact this may have on the company. Such impacts are simply the consequences of poor practices which must go accounted for. Unwillingness to pay is ludicrous in light of these facts. Thank the Supreme Court for allowing a large step to be taken towards justice.
Dear John Roberts,
The United States Supreme Court has recently shown its commitment to justice by denying a proposal by Chevron which would have upheld an injunction against payment of money owed to 30,000 plaintiffs. This marks a large step towards victory as Chevron has resisted enforcement of this court judgement for far too long. An Ecuadorean court had asked Chevron to pay $19 billion dollars for large-scale pollution resulting from over 16 billion gallons of toxic waste dumped into the Amazon between 1964 and 1992. The tainted water has since caused cancer in many people and continuous to threaten the environment.
We hope that this will put an end to a nearly decade-long trial which Chevron actively makes efforts to avoid submitting to. We thank you and expect that Chevron will begin to take this matter seriously. The damage they claim will be incurred upon their company by paying the decided amount is no justification for being absolved of serious environmental damage.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jean Spector via Fotopedia