While drilling for oil in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest region, Texaco - which merged with Chevron in 2001 - operated without concern for the environment or local residents. The company deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic wastewater into rivers and streams, spilled millions of gallons of crude oil, and abandoned hazardous waste in hundreds of unlined open-air pits littered throughout the region. The result is widespread devastation of the rainforest ecosystem and local indigenous communities, and one of the worst environmental disasters in history.
Due to Chevron's toxic contamination of their soil, rivers and streams, and groundwater, local indigenous and campesino communities continue to suffer an epidemic of cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and other ailments. Chevron has never carried out a meaningful clean up of the mess it is responsible for, and its infrastructure continues to poison the communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
In February 2011, after an 18 year-long David vs. Goliath battle for justice, local people won a judgment against Chevron, with the court in Ecuador ordering the company to pay more than $9 billion to clean up widespread pollution, and provide potable water and health care for affected communities. Unfortunately, while people in the area continue to suffer and die from cancer and other oil-related illness, Chevron has declared that it will fight to avoid paying to clean up its mess "until hell freezes over."
Since 2002, Amazon Watch and our Clean Up Ecuador Campaign has been working with shareholders, consumers, and other concerned people to support justice for the communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.