Amazon Defense Coalition: Chevron Facing Rising Tide of Public Anger over BP-Like Environmental Tragedy in Amazon Rainforest

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					Amazon Defense Coalition: Chevron Facing Rising
Tide of Public Anger over BP-Like Environmental
Tragedy in Amazon Rainforest
Oil Giant’s Actions Over Ecuador Disaster Condemned by Redford, Herbert, and Perkins as Chorus of
Prominent Voices Grows

June 07, 2010 07:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time  

QUITO, Ecuador--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Actor and filmmaker Robert Redford, New York Times
columnist Bob Herbert and bestselling author John Perkins are the latest voices to condemn Chevron’s desperate
maneuvers to avoid liability for the massive oil disaster that has plagued Ecuador’s rainforest for almost fifty years.

Herbert reported in his column over the weekend that Chevron’s dumping in Ecuador – which took place from 1964
to 1992 but has never been cleaned up -- is larger than the BP spill in the Gulf. He also accused Chevron of treating
the pristine Amazon ecosystem like a “sewer” when it operated an oil concession in Ecuador.

Chevron is a defendant in a $27 billion lawsuit in Ecuador’s court brought by dozens of indigenous groups and
farmer communities who accused the oil giant of dumping a far greater amount of crude than has flowed from the BP
disaster. A final decision is expected later this year.

“BP’s calamitous behavior in the Gulf of Mexico is the big oil story of the moment,” wrote Herbert in an article
published in The New York Times on Saturday. “But for many years, indigenous people from a formerly pristine
region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador have been trying to get relief from an American company, Texaco [now
Chevron], for what has been described at the largest oil-related catastrophe ever.” 

Herbert said that both BP and Chevron, “when left to their own devices, will treat even the most magnificent of
nature’s wonders like a sewer.” He also said both the fishermen of Louisiana and indigenous peoples of Ecuador
have been treated “contemptuously” by BP and Chevron.

“The families who lives and culture depend upon the intricate web of waterways along the Gulf Coast of the United
States are in a fix similar to that of the indigenous people zapped by nonstop oil spills and the oil-related pollution in
the Ecuadorian rainforest,” he wrote.

Herbert’s column can be read here.

Redford, in a column published by The Huffington Post, blasted Chevron for violating the First Amendment by trying
to subpoena the outtakes from an award-winning documentary film on the lawsuit against Chevron brought by
dozens of Amazonian communities. The film, Crude, was made by celebrated director Joe Berlinger and garnered
22 awards from film festivals in 2009 after premiering at Sundance.

“The potential ramifications of [Chevron’s subpoena] for the journalist community, film world, and society in general
are both shocking and profound,” Redford wrote. “If we allow the voice of the independent artiest to be stifled we
should expect nothing less than extreme repercussions for freedom of information… and freedom in general.” 

Redford’s column can be read here.

John Perkins, the New York Times best-selling author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and
“Hoodwinked,” said: "Chevron winning the case against the documentary filmmakers will hammer the final nail in the
coffin of 'freedom of speech.' Chevron winning the case against the victims of the oil spills in Ecuador will not only
establish the US in world eyes as a greedy, irresponsible empire, but it will also set a precedent that will lead to an
even more unjust and unsustainable future, one we should not wish upon our children and grandchildren."

Chevron claims it needs the outtakes to help it defend the civil lawsuit, but observers have pointed out that the oil
giant is engaged in a wide-ranging fishing expedition to undermine Ecuador’s court system in an attempt to avoid
paying an expected adverse judgment. This posture has attracted criticism from documentary filmmakers Michael
Moore, Ric Burns, and Trudie Styler.

Burns said a ruling in favor of Chevron could deliver a “killer blow” for the documentary film industry.

“It makes me shudder to think that all the stuff would be turned over… not because of any secrets that are revealed,
but because of the killer blow to the trust a filmmaker cultivated, deeply, over a very long period of time,” Burns

Journalist Bill Moyers also criticized Chevron in an article, saying the oil giant’s move jeopardizes “the whole integrity
of the process of journalism.” Moyer’s article can be read here.

The lawsuit against Chevron, originally filed in U.S. federal court in 1993, is taking place in Ecuador at Chevron’s
request. Chevron praised Ecuador’s courts to have the case moved, but now criticizes those same courts given that
the evidence is stacking up against it, say representatives of the plaintiffs.

Amazon Defense Coalition
Karen Hinton, 703-798-3109


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