Oil giant sued

Published: Sunday 15 June 2003

Ecuadorean Indians have sued oil conglomerate ChevronTexaco for a billion dollars. They have accused ChevronTexaco's unit, Texaco Petroleum Company, of discharging water contaminated with oil and metal salts such as mercury and cadmium into Amazon rivers from 1972 to 1992. They also allege that toxins seeped into the soil because of the released water, damaged crops and caused cancer among local villagers.

Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, has defended itself stating that it was accepted procedure to treat water hauled out with oil and release it into nearby rivers. The firm claims that it has already paid US $40 million for a clean-up operation.

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