Chevron Gets Reamed on 60 Minutes over It’s Toxic Legacy in Ecuador

crude_reflections_30As a coal finance campaigner, I often see scumbag behaviour from King Coal and the banks that love them on a regular basis.  But then I forget that we have the mother of all monster industries, Big Oil, to deal with as well.

While nothing should be done to minimize the horror of mountaintop removal and new coal fired power plants, Chevron is the 3rd largest corporation on the planet and responsible for a lot of reprehensible behavior in Iraq, the Philippines, Canada, Nigerial and right here in the San Francisco bay area.   They are also in the homestretch of legal proceedings in Ecuador over a $27 billion lawsuit brought against them by indigenous people of the Amazon.  Chevron is responsible for 18 billion gallons of toxic oil sludge left throughout an area spanning hundreds of miles of rainforest.

Last night, 60 Minutes reamed Chevron.  Like really reamed them. And Chevron didn’t even mount that good a defense.  In it, Chevron’s PR hack compared her mascara to communities living with Chevron’s toxic legacy.

See the Video Here

The arrogance and influence of Big Oil is massive.  Recently, a Chevron lobbyist remarkedWe can’t let little countries screw around with big companies.”  Chevron’s powerhouse team includes former Senate majority leader Trent Lott, former Democratic senator John Breaux and Wayne Berman, a top fund-raiser for John McCain-all with access to Washington’s top decision makers.

Right now, Chevron is positioned to lose big.  Despite all their money, their influence the lobbyists and their produced media.

Companies like Exxon and Chevron have bigger economies than many nation states.  Yet the emergence of leftist governments in South American countries like Ecuador (amongst many others) has put them on the defensive. Ecuador’s president, Rafeal Correa, is following the trial closely with a keen eye towards foreign interference. Recently he expelled two Americans who were apparently manipulating the Ecuadorian police forces, calling them spies. (no response from the State Dept.)

Chevron’s PR hacks are battling it out with NGOs like Amazon Watch on the case as they are on the ropes unlike any oil company in history.

5 Responses to “Chevron Gets Reamed on 60 Minutes over It’s Toxic Legacy in Ecuador”

  1. 1 Paul Paz y Mino May 5th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you for getting the word out about this. Chevron has been trying its best to attack 60 Minutes and making false claims about the “real story” in Ecuador. The evidence in this case is overwhelming and Chevron doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They need to realize that the only solution is to fund a full scale clean-up. They are about to lose the largest environmental and corporate accountability case in history!

  2. 2 Nick Magel May 5th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks for the post. First off I think you propose a really valid question to why (at least in the US) big oil is able to lurk outside the corporate and climate campaigns? Anyway…
    I really was impressed (miracles happen) with the coverage from 60 Min. They pulled no punches against Chevron, didn’t sugarcoat the issue in PR spin, gave poor Chevron Rep Silvia Garrigo plenty of airtime to bury Chevron with their own words (in her defense its impossible to justify Chevron’s actions), exposed Chevrons double-talk, and just reported on the facts that are there.
    It’s taken 2 decades for these communities to reach this critical point(and is an absolute testament to how commitment for justice endures the longest roads) , and it seems that Chevron is really feeling like that just might not have enough ammo behind the deceit and lies to wiggle out of this one.
    Chevron’s Shareholders meeting is May 27 in San Ramon CA. This is significant because there is a strong (and by strong I mean 1/2 Billion $’s strong) that are really beginning to question Chevron’s environmental and human rights policies. they are also pretty worried about how a company sustains a $27 billion ruling. Hopefully the tide is turning for communities of the Ecuadorian Rainforest, and communities from Burma to Richmond, that continue to fight the injustices that are the pillars of the oil industry.
    If you want more information on the case and/or the upcoming shareholders meeting check out

    There is also an interesting release from the Amazon Defense Coalition exposing Chevrons hired army of bloggers to spin the case (something all the folks fighting coal know all too well)

  3. 3 ben boothe May 5th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    The role of US oil companies and the spills and massive destruction they have left in Ecuador has been well documented for years. Our firm has visited remote areas and we know the sludge, oil and spills there may last for decades. Texaco, Chevron, and others treat nations such as Ecuador with no respect, but don’t realize that even the indians of remote areas are intelligent enough to realize when their water, soil and air is polluted.

  1. 1 The True Cost of Chevron « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on May 27th, 2009 at 8:48 pm
  2. 2 The Understory » Chevron’s True Cost Trackback on May 27th, 2009 at 8:57 pm
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Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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