9 July 2007 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
New York, New York - Chevron's environmental problems in Ecuador's rainforest were a major focus at the Live Earth concerts over the weekend, where millions of people around the globe heard about a historic $6 billion lawsuit against the company brought by several indigenous nations nearing extinction and where the lead lawyer met with environmental hero Al Gore.
Chevron is accused by thousands of rainforest dwellers of dumping more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste over a 25-year period when it exclusively operated more than 350 well sites in Ecuador's rainforest. The long-running trial just entered its final phase, with a decision expected in 2008 that experts believe could result in the highest judgment against an oil company ever. The case and its young lead attorney, Ecuadorian Pablo Fajardo, were featured in the May issue of Vanity Fair .
At Live Earth, the company faced a host of new pressures:
- Trudie Styler, a movie producer and actress who is married to Sting, told a live, prime-time NBC audience during the concert that Chevron had committed various human rights "atrocities" in Ecuador and called on the company to accept responsibility. NBC ran a tape of Styler visiting Ecuador during the interview, which was conducted by Ann Curry, a host of the Today Show.
- After the NBC interview, Sting and Styler introduced Fajardo and another leader of the historic lawsuit, Luis Yanza, at the Live Earth press center in New York. Several media outlets, including the Associated Press, wrote stories about Fajardo's struggle to hold the oil giant accountable for what is believed to be the worst oil-related disaster on the planet.
- Actress Daryl Hannah also gave an interview to Bravo TV during the Live Earth coverage, talking about her recent trip to the affected communities in Ecuador and about the separate campaign to save Ecuador's Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, from the ravages of oil drilling.
- Separately, on the Bravo Channel, Fajardo and Styler strongly criticized Chevron for its Ecuador problems and called on the world community to pay attention to the case. Chevron's lawyers recently have been accused of trying to delay the trial with a series of illegal actions.
- On Sunday, the day after the concert, Styler published a long article in London's Daily Mail newspaper, with a circulation of 3.5 million, about a recent trip to Ecuador where she met cancer victims who live in the 1,700-square mile area where Texaco operated.
- Also on Sunday, Fajardo and two other members of the legal team against Chevron met U.S. vice-president Al Gore, a major backer of Live Earth, to tell him about the case. The group also met with the members of The Police, who were the final act in the New York show and who are currently on a world tour.
Finally, the NGO Amazon Watch ran several Public Service Announcements, narrated by Martin Sheen, about saving the rainforest during the live Global Feed of the concerts. The PSA's included footage of toxic oil pits left by Texaco in Ecuador.
"Chevron has survived for years by hiding this human rights atrocity in Ecuador," said Fajardo. "Little by little, Chevron's lies and deceit are being exposed."