After 17 long years in a legal battle, Ecuadorian farmers and environmentalists rejoiced this week when an Ecuadorian judge ruled that Chevron Corporation (Texaco merged with Chevron in 2001) was guilty of polluting the Amazon jungle. The judge ordered Chevron to pay a $8.6 billion fine and an equal amount in punitive damages. If Chevron does not publically apologize within 15 days, the company would be ordered to pay twice the amount. But the battle is far from over.
Ecuadorian farmers in the Amazon accused Chevron of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon River basin between 1972 and 1992. Farmers reported higher cancer rates, polluted water supplies and subsequent damage to crops and farm animals. Plaintiffs say $8.6 billion is not nearly enough and were hoping for at least $27 billion. With the hope to receive more money, the 30,000 Ecuadoreans represented in the lawsuit announced that they will appeal the settlement amount.