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Video Shows Chevron Unable To Find Clean Soil Samples In Ecuador

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video published by Amazon Watch shows that Chevron found polluted soil samples while running “pre-inspections” in Ecuador prior to official ones, providing further evidence that Chevron knew about environmental degradation caused by the company’s involvement in extracting oil from the country.

The video shows Chevron employees and consultants desperately searching for areas to test the soil that would show the site was not contaminated ahead of a legal inquiry that ultimately produced a judgement against the firm. Despite desperately searching for uncontaminated areas Chevron personnel kept coming up with problematic soil samples.

Chevron confirmed the authenticity of the video when it demanded it be returned:

The videos are a true treasure trove of Chevron misdeeds and corporate malfeasance. And, ironically, Chevron itself proved their authenticity. Amazon Watch turned over the tapes to the legal team representing the affected indigenous and farmer communities. When the plaintiffs’ lawyers tried to use the videos in court to cross-examine a Chevron “scientist”, the company objected.

A letter sent by Chevron’s legal firm Gibson Dunn to counsel for the communities states, “These videos are Chevron’s property, and are confidential documents and/or protected litigation work product. Chevron demands that you provide detailed information about how your firm acquired these videos and your actions with respect to them… In addition to providing this information, Chevron demands that you promptly return the improperly obtained videos and all copies of them by sending them to my attention at the above address.”

The video also includes interviews with local residents in the parts of Ecuador effected by the pollution. Though the company was likely looking for witnesses who would testify on its behalf, it interviewed numerous people who provided eye witness accounts of deleterious health effects related to soil and water contamination.

Chevron has been fighting for a decade to get out from under accusations and a later $9.5 billion legal judgement against the company related to improper conduct by Texaco in Ecuador – a company Chevron acquired in 2001. The judgement, made in Ecuador, came under scrutiny in a US court where accusations of fraud and bribery were made against a lawyer involved in the case, Steven Donziger. 

It seems unlikely Chevron will agree to abide by the Ecuadorian court’s decision anytime soon if ever which means the people in Ecuador will have to find some other way to clean up the damage from Texaco.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.