An appeals court in Ecuador upheld an US$18 billion ruling against Chevron Corp on Tuesday for oil pollution in the Amazon rainforest more than two decades ago.
The ruling confirmed a judgment in the case in February last year. The Ecuadorian plaintiffs said in a statement that the decision is based on scientific evidence presented at trial proving that waste had poisoned the water supply.
“The appellate court relied on a record that proved that Chevron has violated the rights of the communities where it operates,” the plaintiffs said in the e-mailed statement.
The lawsuit deals with pollution of the rainforest by energy company Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001.
Chevron denounced the appeals court’s decision and said it would continue to seek recourse in other courts outside Ecuador.
“Today’s decision is another glaring example of the politicization and corruption of Ecuador’s judiciary that has plagued this fraudulent case from the start,” Chevron said in a statement.
The San Ramon, California-based company has previously alleged fraud in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs have also accused Chevron of defrauding the Ecuadorian court to hide the scale of the oil contamination.
By the time of last year’s judgment, the case had been winding its way through US and Ecuadorian courts for more than 17 years.
The suit was originally filed in a US federal court in New York in 1993 against Texaco and dismissed three years later after the oil company argued that Ecuador was the proper venue to hear the case. The suit was refiled in Ecuador in 2003.