14 February 2006
Two U.S. Senators Express Concern Over Chevron Lobbying Tactics in Nation’s Capitol Reports Amazon Watch
WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and
Barack Obama (D-Ill) have written to the U.S. Trade Representative asking that
he stop Chevron’s lobbying to undermine a historic environmental lawsuit
against the company in Ecuador’s rainforest.
Chevron faces a potential multi-billion dollar liability in the class-
action case for clean-up of what experts believe is the worst oil-related
contamination in the world, affecting an estimated 30,000 people in the
The Senators sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman on
Feb. 2 urging him to ignore Chevron’s campaign to exclude Ecuador from trade
negotiations until the Ecuadorian government shuts down the lawsuit.
The senators write: "We are writing to seek your assurances that the U.S.
Trade Representative will not allow negotiations over the Andean Free Trade
Agreement to interfere with a case involving Chevron that is under
consideration by the Ecuadorian judiciary, particularly one involving
environmental, health and human rights issues that have regional importance.
While we are not prejudging the outcome of the case, we do believe the 30,000
indigenous residents of Ecuador deserve their day in court."
Since the trial began in 2003, all 22 sites inspected by the court so far
have been found to be contaminated. One site had levels of Total Petroleum
Hydrocarbons 9,000 times higher than allowed in most U.S. states.
Chevron’s lobbying of Congress has sparked outrage in Ecuador because
Chevron argued for years before a U.S. federal court, where the case was
originally filed, that it would recognize the jurisdiction of the Ecuador
court and abide by any judgment.
"This campaign is morally reprehensible because it violates an express
promise Chevron made to the U.S. court as a condition of getting the case sent
to Ecuador," said Luis Yanza, a representative of the affected communities.
"Our people are dying while Chevron spends millions on lobbyists to undermine
the rule of law."
Earlier this month, Chevron was hit with a complaint filed to the
Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly hiding its Ecuador liability.
Studies have found elevated rates of cancer in the region where Chevron
For full details, including independent scientific reports, of the lawsuit
and international campaign to hold Chevron to account, visit