Ongoing Devastation

Texaco's recklessness in the Oriente has caused a public health crisis. Studies have attributed at least 1401 excess cancer deaths in the region to oil contamination, as well as an elevated rate of pregnancies ending in miscarriage. The lives, land, and cultures of the region's native peoples were decimated, and today they find themselves struggling for survival. Texaco left Ecuador in 1992, turning over all its outdated oil operations and crumbling infrastructure to the country's state oil company, Petroecuador. Using the very same technology, Petroecuador continued to pollute, slowly modernizing its operations over time, but with a long way to go in improving its environmental record.

Meanwhile, Texaco conducted a sham "clean-up" of less than 1% of the damage at its former sites beginning in 1995, in most cases merely covering open pits with dirt or burning off the crude by-products. In cahoots with several corrupt government officials, Texaco obtained a "release" from liability based on its fraudulent remediation efforts. However, this release does not apply to individuals, who remained free to pursue legal action against Texaco. And by 1993, legal efforts to hold Texaco accountable had already begun.

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Public Health Crisis