Amazon Defense Coalition
In 1995, two years after the Ecuadorian plaintiffs filed their original lawsuit in the United States, Chevron entered into a remediation agreement with the Government of Ecuador. Chevron pledged to remediate or clean up 16 percent of the well sites in exchange for a release of government claims against the company. This agreement is in the center of Chevron's defense against the plaintiffs' charge that the oil giant intentionally contaminated the Ecuadorian rainforest.
Without it, Chevron has no defense.
This is one of the reasons the Ecuadorian court hearing the lawsuit ruled against Chevron, finding the oil giant accountable for $8.6 billion in damages. The court ruled that the agreement had no bearing on the case for two reasons:
- The agreement released only government claims, not third-party, independent claims. Additionally a 1994 memorandum of understanding between Chevron and the Government of Ecuador specifically stated that third-party, independent claims, such as the plaintiffs' claims being heard then in a U.S. court, would be carved out. In the final 1995 remediation agreement, only government claims are listed as claims to be released by the Government of Ecuador. In a deposition, one of the Chevron lawyers who negotiated the agreement admitted that the document carved out third-party claims.
- Contamination testing during the trial found that samples taken at the so-called "remediated" well sites were just as contaminated at those not cleaned by Chevron. In effect, the plaintiffs discovered that Chevron did not remediate the sites. Five other parties also found contamination at the "remediated" sites. Chevron simply threw dirt on top of unlined oil pits that the company used to store permanently left over oil and chemically-laced production water that later leeched into the underground water supply.
1995 Remediation Agreement
See the highlighted portion of the agreement between Chevron and the Government of Ecuador that specifically states only government claims are released, not third-party, independent claims.
1994 Memorandum of Understanding
See the highlighted portion of the Memorandum of Understanding that specifically states that third-party, independent claims, such as the ones filed by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs, are to be carved out in the final agreement.
2006 Remediation Deposition
See the highlighted portion of a deposition given by one of the Chevron attorneys who negotiated the 1995 remediation agreement. In the deposition, he admits that Chevron and the Government of Ecuador carved out third-party, independent claims, such as the ones filed by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs.
Phony Remediation Memorandum
This memo details the sham remediation that Chevron conducted at the well sites it negotiated to clean up in exchange for release of government claims.
Evidence of Chevron's Sham Remediation
Six different sets of tests found illegal levels of contamination at Chevron's so-called "remediated" sites.