Debra Saunders: Oil and Water Mix in Ecuador


In May, “60 Minutes” ran a TVreport on Ecuadorans in the Lago Agrio area — with graphic video of foul-looking petroleum waste pits — who are suing Chevron for damages and to clean up toxic oil waste in their village. One of the plaintiffs, Emergildo Criollo, showed up last month at Chevron’s shareholder meeting, where he said he had lost two children and an aunt to health problems he blames on oil-field contamination, as The Chronicle’s David R. Baker reported. “We don’t want to keep dying,” Criollo said through an interpreter.

Oh yeah, and because Chevron lawyers convinced a federal judge in New York that Ecuador had legal jurisdiction, the trial will be in Ecuador, where Chevron now says it does not expect to get a fair trial. A court-appointed expert has assessed the oil giant’s damages at a whopping $27 billion. It’s like Bingo.

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