Fake cleanup misled villagers who built homes on polluted sites
12 May 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Paz y Miño: +1 510.281.9020 x302, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – Contamination tests, taken by Chevron during an Ecuador trial, revealed illegal levels of toxins, some carcinogenic, in the soil and water of the Ecuadorian rainforest, charges a Huffington Post blog written by a supporter of a group of indigenous Ecuadorians, who sued Chevron and won a $9.5 billion judgment for damages.
Refusing to pay the judgment, Chevron has called it a fraud. But Karen Hinton, who has been the U.S. spokesperson for the Ecuadorians, wrote that Chevron's tests show otherwise.
Her Huffington Post blog also charges that Chevron's predecessor Texaco faked a cleanup in the mid-1990s to obtain a liability release from the Republic of Ecuador. Villagers, thinking that the well sites no longer contained toxins, built homes on top of the sites.
"Texaco, it seems, simply poured dirt over oil pits to mask their danger," Hinton wrote.
The blog describes a number of contamination tests, submitted to the Ecuador court by Chevron. The results showed dangerous levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), a measurement of toxins, as well as illegal levels of carcinogenic chemicals and metals, such as barium, benzene, cadmium and lead.
Most of the tests cited in the blog have levels above what Ecuadorian law allows. Chevron argued that the levels were too low, even though the U.S. requires even lower levels than Ecuador.
Hinton wrote: "Ecuador law allows 1,000 parts per million of TPH in residential areas, while, guess what? – Chevron argues that 10,000 TPH should be the limit. That's 100 times more than in the United States where many states allow only 100 TPH.
"Why is 10,000 TPH protective enough for Ecuadorians – in Chevron's estimation at least – but not for Americans?"
"(They) show illegal contamination ... Chevron can't blame anyone but Texaco for this environmental damage: Texaco alone built, operated and closed these sites," wrote Hinton.