As 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.
The arrogance and influence of Big Oil is massive. Recently, a Chevron lobbyist remarked “We 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.)