Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Experts Say 10,000 May Die in Ecuador Due to Chevron's Pollution

Over the weekend, Rainforest Action Network's Nick Magel published a must-read article on CommonDreams.org about the final damages assessment that the Ecuadorian communities suing Chevron submitted to the Lago Agrio court last Thursday. The article highlights the most shocking revelation from the analysis completed for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs by a team of eminent scientists and doctors; that without immediate and drastic action, Chevron's toxic contamination could kill thousands more men, women, and children in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest.

Magel writes:

Shockwaves rippled through the world's largest environmental lawsuit on Friday, as a new damages assessment was submitted in the lawsuit between 30,000 Indigenous peoples and local farmers against the global oil giant Chevron. The damages assessment finds that because of factors still persisting in the Ecuadorean rainforest from Chevron's pollution, nearly 10,000 Ecuadoreans are at significant risk of dying from cancer by the year 2080. The technical and medical experts who authored the assessment claim that the conditions that remain from Chevron's systemic pollution in the Amazon will continue to cause cancer, birth defects, and other ailments for decades.

"The information in this submission is highly significant because it reflects clearly that there is a terrible oil-related disaster in Ecuador in the area where Chevron operated," said Pablo Fajardo, lead lawyer for the Ecuadorian communities suing Chevron. 

The new assessment also placed damages to Ecuadorian communities at $40-90 billion rather than the court's original $27.3 billion. The increase in damages is due to Chevron's "unjust enrichment." Unjust enrichment is essentially money saved by using sub-standard drilling practices. Simply, Chevron cut corners and communities paid the price, a very high price.

Fajardo was clear about Chevron's human impact in the region. "What these analyses make chillingly clear is that thousands of Ecuadorian citizens may well contract and die of cancer in the coming decades because of Chevron's contamination."

Read the rest of the article at Common Dreams.

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