In the space of a week, a Chevron technical team has discovered two fresh oil spills in Ecuador’s oil-producing Amazon region. One covers three hectares (7.4 acres) near state-owned oil company Petroecuador’s Guanta production station in the heart of Cofan indigenous country. The other impacts half a hectare (1.2 acres) in the Sacha field, an area operated by the Rio Napo joint venture. The spill is near the village of San Carlos where plaintiffs’ lawyers and activists claim oil has caused an outbreak of health problems.
Yet the Amazon Defense Front, Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network – groups backing a meritless lawsuit against Chevron – have said nothing. Despite claiming to advocate on behalf of the environment and the people of Ecuador’s Oriente, there have been no expressions of outrage. No denouncements of the companies operating in these areas. No indignant press releases. No press conferences. And, of course, no lawsuits.
April 17_2010: Photo facing southeast showing a berm built to dam fluids as part of the remediation activities by Petroecuador in the spill area located approximately 1 km North of Guanta Production Satation.
Yet this behavior is consistent with an ongoing pattern of ignoring the conduct of Petroecuador and opposing Petroecuador’s clean-up efforts. Given their track record, one has to ask if these lawyers and activists are really advocates of the environment or the indigenous people they claim to represent?
It very well may be that the Amazon Defense Front, Amazon Watch, and the Rainforest Action Network are more interested in taking Chevron to the cleaners than actually cleaning up the Amazon.