An Ecuadorian investigator has presented no new evidence to justify the $27 billion claim, Chevron says.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week, a court-appointed investigator at the Superior Court in Nueva Loja, Ecuador said that damages from Chevron's past and present oil operations in Ecuador total more than $27 billion. That's nearly twice as much as the investigator, Richard Cabrera, previously estimated. In response, Chevron issued the following statements:
Chevron has demonstrated that Cabrera’s work contains fabricated and erroneous evidence. The company has urged the court to reject Cabrera’s findings because the author “produced an advocacy report for the plaintiffs, not a competent or impartial review of evidence.”
Without a shred of new data or evidence, Richard Cabrera has outrageously increased the amount he is advising an Ecuador court to penalize Chevron in the Lago Agrio case.
We strongly maintain our position that Cabrera’s previous submission included damages that were unsubstantiated and fabricated. His conclusions and damage estimates are not based on any known science and are completely fraudulent. This ‘new’ report further confirms his lack of impartiality and credibility.
Cabrera’s work was monitored, supported, and conducted by the plaintiffs. They paid more than $200,000 to fund his ‘independent” findings. Chevron has also pointed out specific areas where the company believes the plaintiffs had a direct role in compiling the report and has asked the court to reject it outright.
Chevron will file a response to Mr. Cabrera’s filing in due course. In the meantime, it is important to point out that Mr. Cabrera:
• Is funded entirely by the Amazon Defense Coalition, the very organization that is the named financial beneficiary of the lawsuit.
• In preparing his report, relied upon a technical team staffed by the Amazon Defense Coalition.
• Relied upon the Amazon Defense Coalition to recruit, retain, and pay for the survey work that forms the basis of his illegitimate health analysis.
• Clearly relied on third parties to develop his report, but refuses to reveal who they were, what qualifications they have, and that they do not have conflicts of interest.
• Falsified evidence in his report to the court, potentially perjuring himself.”
A preliminary review of Cabrera's latest work reveals that he has made the following changes to his report:
- Alleged excessive cancer deaths - Cabrera increased his estimate from $2.9 billion to $9.5 billion his damages for alleged cancer deaths. -- This is apparently based on the same statistical approach used in his original report and expands it to reflect 1999 census figures. Cabrera again does not identify any of the individuals allegedly impacted by oil operations. Meanwhile, Chevron has evidence that the survey work performed for Cabrera was commissioned by the Amazon Defense Coalition, a gross violation of Cabrera's position as an "independent" court appointee. Finally, the text from Cabrera's updated report matches verbatim to Pablo Fajardo's filing with the court suggesting that Cabrera had underestimated cancer damages, recommending that damages should tally $9.5 billion.
- Unjust enrichment - Cabrera increased his assessment from $8.3 billion to $8.4 billion for unjust enrichment. -- Cabrera still does not offer any legal grounds or evidence to justify his incremental assessment for unjust enrichment, continues to ignore that Texaco Petroleum's profits from the consortium were $490 million, and clearly exceed the court's mandate. How does an Ecuadorian mining engineer, allegedly working without the assistance of attorneys, advance an American legal concept like unjust enrichment?
- Alleged groundwater contamination - Cabrera has added $3.236 billion for remediation of groundwater. -- In his first report, Cabrera stated that he did not have any data on groundwater contamination and that was the reason why he could not assess a remediation cost thereto. We are not aware of any new groundwater samples taken by Cabrera to justify this new assessment.
- Soil remediation - Cabrera increased his recommendation from $1.7 billion to $2.743 billion, apparently based on his "evaluation" of the incremental remediation cost to clean pits to meet 100 ppm TPH. -- This is contradictory to the legal basis cited by Cabrera in his original report which was 1000 ppm TPH, which doesn't apply either to remediation of reserve pits in Ecuador as per the official interpretation of the Ecuadorian Environmental Agency (DINAPA). It is noteworthy to mention that 100 ppm TPH is a parameter that has been sponsored by US technicians hired by Kohn, Graff & Swift and Steve Donziger, which does not apply either (even in the USA) for remediation of crude oil reserve pits.
More information can be found at http://www.chevron.com/ecuador/cabrerareportflaws/