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Posted Tue Dec 30 2008: from Bloomberg News:
Texaco Toxic Past Haunts Chevron as $27 Billion Judgment Looms
Bolivar Cevallos walks around the farm where his family once lived amid the oil fields of Ecuador's Amazon rain forest. His boots sink ankle deep in tar. Everywhere he steps, oily muck seeps from the ground. A gasolinelike smell hangs in the sweltering jungle air. The mess is a remnant of oil drilling in a 120-mile-long swath of the tropical jungle in northeastern Ecuador where Texaco Inc. and Ecuador's state-run oil company, PetroEcuador, have pumped billions of barrels of crude from the ground during the past 40 years. The ruined land around Cevallos's home is part of one of the worst environmental and human health disasters in the Amazon basin, which stretches across nine countries and, at 1.9 billion acres (800 million hectares), is about the size of Australia. And depending on how an Ecuadorean judge rules in a lawsuit over the pollution, it may become the costliest corporate ecological catastrophe in world history. If the judge follows the recommendation of a court-appointed panel of experts, he could order Chevron Corp., which now owns Texaco, to pay as much as $27 billion in damages.
[Read more stories about: oil issues, toxic sludge, contamination, capitalist greed]
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When it comes to oil, this is the Mother of All Craps.

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