Ecuador will clean areas of its Amazon region that were polluted decades ago by Texaco in a move criticized by activists who fear too little will be done.
After 26 years of legal actions in Ecuador, the United States, Canada and Europe that failed to result in any significant cleanup effort of areas affected by crude oil spills, Ecuadorean authorities will start to clean up polluted areas to try to stop the damage, El Telegrafo reported.
“It is a request from the president [Lenin Moreno] that we remedy that,” Energy Minister Carlos Perez recently said.
Judicial changes in Ecuador made it possible to clean up the areas. Previously, authorities could not interfere with the spills because the pollution was used as evidence in lawsuits against Chevron, which took over Texaco’s assets and liabilities at the time of their merger nearly two decades ago.
In September 2018, an arbitration court in The Hague found that Ecuador violated a treaty with the United States by allowing its courts in 2011 to issue a $9 billion judgement against Chevron, the Wall Street Journal reported. Legal disputes around the cleanup started in the 1990s.
Chevron does not dispute that pollution occurred but said it is not liable, because Texaco assets that caused the pollution and liabilities were transferred to the Ecuadorean government in the 1990s.