Chevron is accused of polluting the Amazon for 26 years but the only people who’ve suffered are a human rights lawyer and the indigenous Ecuadorians whose land was poisoned
Supporters of lawyer Steven Donziger hold a small rally for his court appearance at
Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse in Manhattan on May 10, 2021,
in New York City. Picture: Michael M Santiago/Getty
SAT, 12 FEB, 2022 – 02:00
Most people have probably heard of Chernobyl, or the BP oil spill. You may also know about my legal battle over contaminated water in California, dramatised in the movie Erin Brockovich.
Yet far fewer people have heard about what transpired in the Ecuadorian Amazon — though it’s considered by some activists, journalists, and members of US Congress to be one of the world’s worst environmental disasters.
What if I told you that a multinational oil company allegedly polluted the Amazon for almost three decades? And that the oil company has spent even more years refusing to accept liability? Or that a US lawyer who agreed to represent thousands of Ecuadorian villagers in a lawsuit against that oil company has lost his law licence, income, spent hundreds of days under house arrest in New York, and in 2021 was sentenced to six months in prison?
The lawyer who took on Chevron — and now marks his 600th day under house arrest. From 1964 to 1990, Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, allegedly spilled more than 16m gallons of crude oil — “80 times more oil than was spilled in BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster”, according to Gizmodo — and 18bn gallons of polluted wastewater in the Amazon rainforest.