A federal court has ruled that environmental-damage costs issued to Chevron were achieved through the use of unscrupulous tactics, giving the company the means to fight back against entities trying to seize its assets in Ecuador. The conclusion brings into question the validity of the $9.5 billion award, the largest environmental legal cost in history.
The initial lawsuit was actually levied against Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001. Texaco had set up a drilling partnership with the Ecuadorian government to give it access to oil fields within the nation’s jungles. While the oil giant settled other oil-waste claims filed by Ecuador in the 90s, it was charged with neglecting to aid in the cleanup of Lago Agrio, the contamination of which resulted in illness throughout local populations.