Amazon Watch and Environmental Lawyer Will Address Meeting on Landmark Class-Action Lawsuit
9 October 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
San Francisco, CA - The environmental and human catastrophe allegedly wrought by Chevron (formerly Texaco) in the Ecuadorian Amazon will be under the spotlight at the University of California, Berkeley this week at a talk on the landmark $6 billion class-action lawsuit against the oil major.
Steven Donziger, a U.S. lawyer working for indigenous groups and other communities in the region, and Simeon Tegel, Amazon Watch's Director of Communications, will speak at the talk, titled "The Landmark Environmental Class-Action Lawsuit: Aguinda vs. ChevronTexaco".
The event is being hosted by the Committee for Human Rights of UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, the university's Human Rights Center, International Human Rights Clinic and International Legal Studies Program. Focusing on issues from Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia, those bodies have extensive experience in dealing with international human rights abuses.
The Aguinda lawsuit alleges that Texaco (now Chevron) deliberately dumped 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste into Ecuador's rainforest, or 30 times more crude oil than spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. The area devastated by Chevron is home to five indigenous groups, two of which are on the brink of disappearing.
Rates of cancer and spontaneous miscarriages in the region are reported to be several times higher than in other parts of Ecuador.
Experts believe the Aguinda case is the most significant environmental case in the world today, as it represents the first time that rainforest residents have successfully forced a U.S. oil company to subject itself to jurisdiction in their own court system. Any judgment in Ecuador is enforceable in the U.S. based on an unusual arrangement under which U.S. and Ecuadorian courts share jurisdiction.
The Aguinda lawsuit, which was filed in 2003, is being monitored by representatives of Amazon Watch. Amazon Watch has also campaigned in the United States and Europe to hold Chevron to account for the devastating environmental and human impacts caused by the dumping.
The affected indigenous groups and communities are demanding Chevron provide them with clean water, medical treatment and an environmental remediation that has been provisionally estimated at $6.1 billion. A judgment is expected in 2007.
The talk will take place in room 110 at Boalt Hall, on the UC Berkeley Campus, in downtown Berkeley, California, from 12.45pm to 2pm on Wednesday, October 11, 2006.