Ecuador ruling 'illegitimate,' Exxon says

Nov. 14, 2013 at 8:31 AM

SAN RAMON, Calif., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Chevron Vice President Hewitt Pate rejected as "illegitimate" a court ruling from Ecuador the company is responsible for oil pollution in an Amazon rainforest.

The National court of Justice in Ecuador ruled against Chevron in a long-running case regarding oil pollution in the Amazon rainforest.

"The ... judgment is just as illegitimate and unenforceable today as it was when it was issued almost three years ago," Pate, who serves also as Chevron's general counsel, said in a statement Wednesday. "The government of Ecuador should be investigating the lawyers who are using its courts to commit fraud, rather than issuing another court opinion in furtherance of that fraud."

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 to 1990.

Ecuadorian plaintiffs in the past said Chevron is playing a legal shell game to dodge its environmental responsibilities in the country.

"The company is reviewing the court's decision to determine its legal options and next steps," Chevron said.

Texaco was first accused in the U.S. court system in the 1990s of contaminating the Amazon rainforest.

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