Bianca Jagger promotes lawsuit against ChevronTexaco in
Ecuador By Associated Press
By Associated Press
QUITO, Ecuador - Celebrity activist Bianca
Jagger criticized U.S. oil company ChevronTexaco, which is being
sued by a group of poor Ecuadoreans who say the company\'s past
drilling damaged their rainforest homeland.
The plaintiffs, represented by U.S. lawyers, filed a lawsuit in
May demanding that the California-based oil company pay to clean
up pollution that has allegedly poisoned drinking water and led to
higher rates of disease. The 20 years of drilling ended a decade
\"It makes me sad that companies like Texaco have exploited a
territory, leaving a sequel of horror behind them,\" Jagger
said in a news conference Thursday.
The former model, who was married to rock star Mick Jagger from
1971 to 1979, was in Ecuador ahead of the court case, which is to
start Oct. 21 in the small jungle town of Lago Agro, some 110
miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Quito.
ChevronTexaco says there is no evidence connecting it to the
damaged rainforest. The company also points out that the
Ecuadorean government agreed to a US$40 million cleanup plan by
Texaco in 1995 and three years later certified that the company
complied with it. Texaco merged with Chevron in 2001.
The case was first filed in U.S courts in 1993. After working
through the court system, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
New York ruled in August of last year that the case should be
heard in Ecuador, where the damage allegedly occurred.
The Ecuadoreans\' lawyers originally wanted the case tried in U.S.
courts because they said the Ecuadorean government\'s dependence
on oil revenues would make it less likely for courts to deliver
justice. Oil exports account for about 40 percent of Ecuador\'s
The lawsuit alleges that oil drillers near Lago Agro took
advantage of lax Ecuadorean environmental standards to cut costs
by dumping wastewater into open pits. Lawyers accuse Texaco of
leaving behind some 350 ponds full of water contaminated with oil
and cancer-causing chemicals scattered across a 31 mile-by-62 mile
(50 kilometer-by-100 kilometer) area.
© copyright Associated Press
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