“A court in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle ordered Chevron Corp to pay more than $8 billion in damages on Monday in a closely watched environmental suit, the plaintiffs’ lawyer said.
But the U.S. oil company vowed to appeal, meaning the long-running case dating from drilling in the South American nation during the 1970s and 1980s could last for years more.
The case, which activists portray as a fight for justice against rich polluters but Chevron says is more to do with opportunism, has triggered related legal action in U.S. courts and international arbitration.
It is being monitored by the oil industry for precedents that could lead to other large claims. Chevron had expected to lose the case in the Ecuadorean court.
In a statement on Monday, Chevron did not give any figure from the ruling by the court in Lago Agrio, but said it believed the judgment was “illegitimate” and “unenforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.”
It said the United States and international tribunals had already taken steps to bar enforcement of the ruling.
Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the court had ordered Chevron to pay more than $8 billion damages.
The lawsuit had originally demanded $27 billion.
Residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region have said faulty drilling practices by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001, caused damage to wide areas of jungle and harmed indigenous people in the 1970s and 1980s.”
Read more: Los Angeles Times