Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chevron Locked in Legal Battle with Ecuadorean Indigenous Groups

The Christian Science Monitor reported on a lawsuit against Chevron that has been in the works since 1993 when the company was accused of dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, causing health problems among the regions inhabitants, many of whom are indigenous groups. A report by a court-appointed Ecuadorean geological engineer attributes the contamination to Chevron, and suggests the company pay between $8-16 billion in environmental damages. Chevron has dismissed the report because “it is the result of irregular processes that do not conform with court orders.” This environmental lawsuit is one of the biggest against any oil company, and, regardless of the outcome, sends a message to industries that are extracting resources that they must account for negligent practices.

Anthropologists who are working with communities in resource-rich regions may be particularly suited to assess the impact—-both positive and negative—-that oil corporations and other industries have upon the environment, health and economy of their informants.

Please comment on how you think anthropologists and other social scientists may contribute to the protection and well-being of their informants.

Christian Science Monitor article

Chevron press release