Brazil prosecutor files second lawsuit against Chevron for oil spills

[JURIST] A Brazilian federal prosecutor on Tuesday filed a second $11 billion lawsuit against Chevron after the company reported a new leak [press release] in its Frade oil field in the Campos Basin. Eduardo Santos de Oliviera filed the first lawsuit after a 2,400 barrel oil spill [Global Voices backgrounder] polluted the Campos Basin last November. Last month, he also filed criminal charges [JURIST report] against Chevron officials in connection with the November spill. According to Chevron, the newest spill amounted to less than one barrel of oil. Santos de Oliviera told reporters [Reuters report] that money from the lawsuits will compensate Brazil for a variety of losses associated with the spill, maintaining that the figures are not arbitrary. In a statement [press release, in Portuguese] Chevron said, "the second lawsuit is part of a series of outrageous lawsuits filed by the same prosecutor who previously filed criminal and civil actions equally absurd." The company said they plan to defend themselves against all legal action associated with the two spills.

Chevron continues to face legal battles associated with the oil spill last November. Last month, Santos de Oliviera charged Chevron and a number of its executive officers with environmental crimes, as well as charges of damage to public property. Chevron is also currently appealing an $18 billion fine [JURIST report] for pollution in the Amazon jungle. The judgment against Chevron was upheld in January by a three-judge panel of the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The $18 billion fine, one of the largest in the history of environmental contamination suits, was originally set at $8.6 billion [JURIST report] but was more than doubled for Chevron's refusal to pay "moral reparations" to the Ecuadorian government, as required by the original ruling. The Amazon Defense Coalition [advocacy website], plaintiffs in the suit, have responded that the first judgment was a reaffirmation of how Chevron's greed and criminal misconduct in dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the river has led to death and disease. Damages were initially awarded in February by the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios which found that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in 2001, polluted large areas of the country's rain forest.

 

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