(NaturalNews) In response to an environmental lawsuit filed against the oil giant, Chevron has fortified its defenses with at least twelve different public relations firms whose purpose is to debunk the claims made against the company by indigenous people living in the Amazon forests of Ecuador. According to them, Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste in the Amazon between 1964 and 1990, causing damages assessed at more than $27 billion.
The company is being criticized by people and organizations from across the social and political spectrum for its unethical behavior in regards to the case. Originally filed in U.S. federal district court back in 1993, the lawsuit was eventually moved to courts in Ecuador at Chevron's behest. Having initially lauded Ecuador's legal system in an effort to have the case moved there, Chevron later changed its mind and began attacking the system when that system found the company liable for damages.
Shareholders are also upset with Chevron for its gross mismanagement of the case in which it has sidestepped the rule of law and employed guerilla-style tactics in a last ditch effort to fend off an unfavorable ruling. Part of this includes hiring Hill & Knowlton, the same firm that represented the tobacco industry during its indictment over tobacco causing cancer, to perform the same task concerning toxic oil contaminants.
Evidence presented at Chevron's trial included over 50,000 chemical samples taken by the company itself which proved that all of its former oil drilling sites are contaminated with toxic byproducts that cause cancer. Many of these wells have contaminated rivers, streams, and other water sources which natives use for drinking water. Despite all the undeniable evidence, Chevron is working hard to cover up the facts and dismiss its responsibility in the matter.
Speaking of responsibility, Chevron's other hired firms are trying to claim that the company worked out a deal with the government in Ecuador back in the mid-1990s that released it from cleanup responsibility. However the terms expressed in the current case regarding cleanup are exempt from the former agreement which, in and of itself, was determined to be fraudulent. Two former Chevron lawyers and a handful of former government officials were indicted because of that agreement which makes it ludicrous to try to use the incident as a defense in the current case.
A final ruling on the case is set to be made sometime this year. Most likely, Ecuadorian courts will find Chevron guilty as charged despite its lobbying efforts.
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