Chevron To Pay Ecuador Almost $9 Billion For Pollution Damages
An Ecuadorean judge ordered Chevron to pay $8.6 billion in damages Monday after he ruled the oil company polluted parts of the country's jungle.
The ruling, which is one of the largest environmental settlements ever, centered around Lago Agrio, a town founded as an oil camp almost 50 years ago. Chevron said today they would appeal the decision, setting up what many say could set a precedent for several other pollution cases against oil companies.
The court gave Chevron 15 days to publicly apologize for their actions or else they could face a doubled fine.
"We plan to appeal that and every other aspect of this illegitimate verdict and see to it that the perpetrators of this fraud are brought to justice," James Craig, a Chevron spokesperson, told Reuters.
Damage reached an estimated high of $113 billion, of which lawyers for the country were seeking the full amount. They called the ruling a "triumph of justice," but were still not happy with Monday's ruling of almost $9 billion, less than 10 percent of what they were looking for.
Chevron versus the country of Ecuador goes back to the 1970s when Texaco had problems with the Ecuadorean government over chemical dumping. Chevron bought Texaco in 2001. One analyst said that this ruling is not nearly the end of the case.
"If you look at the Exxon-Valdez case, that took 20 years to settle," Allen Good, a Chicago-based oil analyst said. "I think there were expectations that the initial judgments would go against Chevron and I think the case is going to play out over a very long time."