(The following ad was submitted to the Oil and Gas Weekly, a newsletter that covers the oil industry. In an apparent act of deference to Texaco, this publication refused to run the following ad regarding Texaco's discrimination in the Amazon rainforest).
Oil and Gas Weekly:
Racism At Texaco Has An Effect On The Entire Oil Industry.
If you think the oil industry took a big hit at the time of the Exxon Valdez disaster, fasten you seat belts. Texaco created a disaster that's literally the equivalent of three Exxon Valdez incidents. What happened in Alaska was an accident. What Texaco did in Ecuador was deliberate. Worse, Texaco's disregard for the human toll in Ecuador is just another chapter in Texaco¹s history of racial and ethnic discrimination.
You may recall that in 1996, Texaco was forced to settle a class-action lawsuit that charged the company with race discrimination against its minority employees. The publicity surrounding the case and the $176 million settlement marked the company as a national symbol of intolerance. Now Texaco faces another lawsuit, which accuses the company of racial and ethnic discrimination on a scale so huge, the financial implications are in the billions of dollars.
By 1971, oil industry practice was to take the toxics-laden water (the "water of production") brought up during the drilling process and re-inject it deep into the ground. But in Ecuador, in the rainforest, in the headwaters of the Amazon River, Texaco violated that practice. The lawsuit alleges that Texaco deliberately dumped this poisonous water in nearby rivers and in streams and ponds.
The once fertile rivers are dead. And deadly. Disease and forced migration have decimated the indigenous tribes who once flourished in the region. Women report a marked increase in spontaneous abortions, Most people suffer from a pre-cancerous dermatological disease. In one village, the number of cancer cases already far exceeds expected norms.
In the coming months, pictures of this devastation and stories of ruined lives will become a staple of the nightly news. And there could be protests across the country against Texaco's racial and ethnic discrimination. Of course, there's no way of knowing how all this will affect the companies and the hundreds of thousands of people who comprise the oil industry. But one thing is certain. It won't be good.
Paid for by the Committee for the Defense of the Amazon (Frente de Defensa de la Amazona).