Chevron appeals Ecuador pollution fine

March 13, 2011 at 8:12 PM

SAN RAMON, Calif., March 13 (UPI) -- Chevron Corp. is appealing an Ecuadorian court order that it pay $17 billion for environmental damage to the Amazon region.

A provincial court in Lago Agrio, an Amazonian town founded as an oil base camp, ruled Feb. 14 the U.S. oil giant, based in San Ramon, Calif., is responsible for pollution caused by Texaco from 1964 to 1992. Chevron bought Texaco in 2001.

Chevron officially announced the appeal Friday, accusing the plaintiffs -- indigenous Amazon Indians and other residents -- of a campaign "to pressure judges to rule in their favor, corrupt expert reports and manufacture evidence."

Chevron charged the plaintiffs' lawyers "falsified data and pressured scientific experts to find contamination where none existed."

The company said a federal court in New York Monday issued a preliminary injunction against the plaintiffs, barring them from enforcing the judgment pending resolution of Chevron's claims that it is unenforceable.

Chevron says "all legitimate expert reports" found the areas remediated by Texaco pose no substantial risk to humans or the environment.

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