Ecuador Court Increases Chevron Damages Bill to $19.02B

QUITO - An Ecuadorian judge has ruled that Chevron Corp. must pay $19.02 billion in environmental damages stemming from its operations in Ecuador.

The amount is higher than an original damage ruling issued last February and ratified in January, which ordered the U.S. company to pay about $18.2 billion, holding it responsible for environmental and punitive damages related to oil operations in the Andean country's Amazon region.

In an official court document issued Monday and reviewed late Thursday by Dow Jones Newswires, Judge Lilia Ortiz said the $19.02 billion includes about $1.7 billion for the Amazon Defense Front, a coalition formed by the plaintiffs, and $8.6 billion because Chevron didn't apologize .

Chevron representatives were not immediately available for comment. It has previously denied responsibility for the claims.

Representatives of Ecuadorian indigenous groups are seeking compensation from Chevron for contamination of their land as a result of Texaco's operations in the country. Chevron inherited the lawsuit in 2001 when it acquired Texaco, which had operations in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992.


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