Source: Press TV
An oil waste pool in the Shushufindi 38 well, Orellana, Ecuador, drilled in the 1970s by Texaco company, seen here in March 2010. AFP Picture
Chevron, the American oil giant, has appealed an Ecuadorian court ruling which ordered the company to pay a fine of USD 9.5 billion for polluting the Amazon rainforest.
Chevron has been found responsible by the Ecuadorian Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios for the large scale pollution of the Amazon region, the state-funded BBC reported.
Indigenous groups of the area say that Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into unlined pits and rivers between 1964 and 1990.
An epidemiological study in the San Carlos village nearby a Chevron-Texaco oil well found 130 percent higher cancer rates in the area compared with the rest of the country.
Over 30,000 local residents, including five different Amazonian tribes, first filed a lawsuit against Texaco in 1993.
A spokesman for the Amazon Defense Coalition has said that at least 1,000 open waste pits exist around the oil wells, which gradually leak toxic waste into the soil, and eventually into the ground water. The state oil company Petroecuador is currently carrying out a clean-up operation in one pit at a cost so far of USD 500,000.
The plaintiffs also revealed that Texaco would regularly dump polluted water into waterways used for drinking, bathing and fishing.
Chevron has issued a statement denying the charges, instead blaming Petroecuador, which was part owner of the oil wells along with Texaco, for the environmental impacts.
The oil giant has accused the plaintiffs of "corrupting” the trial, adding that the judgment is full of "numerous legal and factual defects."
It says it will prevent the ruling's enforcement through an international tribunal and in US courts.
The plaintiffs also plan to appeal the verdict on grounds that the ruling fails to adequately compensate for all of the damages and illnesses caused by the oil activities.