Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Daryl Hannah contributes new momentum to lawsuit against oil giant Chevron

The Independent, today:

Daryl Hannah, the actress turned environmentalist, is adding her voice to a campaign demanding redress for the inhabitants of Ecuador's Amazon region, which has been blighted by 30 years of oil exploration by Texaco.

Democracy Now!, guest John Perkins:

So the lawsuit today that’s being brought by a New York lawyer and some Ecuadorian lawyers -- Steve Donziger here in New York -- is for $6 billion, the largest environmental lawsuit in the history of the world, in the name of 30,000 Ecuadorian people against Texaco, which is now owned by Chevron, for dumping over eighteen billion gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorian rainforest. That’s thirty times more than the Exxon Valdez. And dozens and dozens of people have died and are continuing to die of cancer and other pollution-related diseases in this area of the Amazon. So all this oil has come out of this area, and it’s the poorest area of one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. And the irony of that is just so amazing.
Chevron insists they have done no wrong, and that one of the reasons that lawsuits like these come up, is because of lawyers who smell easy money. Perkins has a different view:
But what I think -- one of the really significant things about this, Amy, is that this law firm has taken this on, not pro bono, but they expect if they win the case, which they expect to do, to make a lot of money off of it, which is a philosophical decision. It isn’t because they wanted to get rich off this. It’s because they want to encourage other law firms to do similar things in Nigeria and in Indonesia and in Bolivia, in Venezuela and many other places. So they want to see a business grow out of this, of law firms going in and defending poor people, knowing that they can get a payoff from the big companies who have acted so terribly, terribly, terribly irresponsibly in the past.

Interview with Perkins starts at 12:25

- The Independent: Daryl Hannah joins Amazon protesters taking on oil giant
- Democracy Now!: John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption"
- Chevron Toxico: Texaco in Ecuador
- Factsheet (pdf): Chevron’s Dirty Business In Ecuador
- CBC: The Oil Curse (2004): Texaco (now Chevron) in Ecuador
- Democracy Now! (1998): Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship: A One Hour Documentary. The award winning audio documentary (1998) can be found here (realplayer) - don't miss the revelation starting at 20:55
- ChevronToxico: Clean Up Ecuador Campaign
- Wikipedia: Chevron
- Wikipedia: "Drilling and Killing"

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