SAN RAMON, Calif., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- An announcement by state-run oil company Petroecuador to spend $70 million to remediate contaminated land in Ecuador is welcome news, Chevron said.
Petroecuador said it was spending millions of dollars to clean Amazon sites polluted by oil. Some of those sites are tied to Chevron's work in the region, a source of an ongoing legal battle.
Plaintiffs in Ecuador blame Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001, for environmental contamination and adverse health effects tied to operations in the country's rainforests from 1972-90. Petroecuador, Texaco's partner, is to blame for the current pollution, Chevron says.
Chevron General Counsel Hewitt Pate said he welcomed the announcement as a sign of the country's commitment to its 1995 agreement with Texaco.
"Petroecuador's $70 million remediation budget, which covers an area larger than that of Texaco's remediation, is within a reasonable cost range under U.N. standards," he said in a statement
But Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for Ecuadorians involved in a lawsuit against Chevron, said Pate was wrong in his public statement.
"That amount of funds, at best, could adequately clean approximately 12 of the 916 waste pits Chevron left behind in Ecuador if the company adheres to cleanup norms approved by most U.S. states and ordered to be used by the Ecuador court," she said.
The Brazilian government took action against Chevron for a recent oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. CNN reports oil washed up on the country's coast from a weekend spill of some 63 barrels of oil from a Japanese-operated oil platform.