Ecuador, Texaco sign weak cleanup pact

Ecuador and Texaco signed an agreement in Quito May 9, outlining measures to restore environmental damages the company caused during 26 years of operation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Local indigenous, farmer, and environmental groups have rejected the agreement, charging it addresses only a small part of Texaco's extensive impacts in the region.

Umbrella groups like the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENAIE) and the Amazon Defense Front emphatically denounced the settlement terms in Ecuador's major media. They charged that Texaco and the Ecuadorian government have failed to deal with the concerns of the very populations so negatively affected by their operations.

Local leaders say the planned cleanup will not effectively remedy the profoundly negative impacts of Texaco's operations, which include deforestation of more than two million acres of rainforest, displacement of indigenous communities, and extensive water pollution which has created a regional health crisis.

The agreement's main points include:

Local organizations call these efforts too limited. For example, the settlement ignores twothirds of Texaco's 339 wells and 600 waste pits in the region. It also fails to specify the technology to be used for remediation.

In addition, Texaco and the government of Ecuador are named as sole parties responsible for running the restoration project. This is an obvious conflict of interest, since they collaborated as an oil consortium until 1992 and are responsible for the damage in the first place.

Ecuadorian indigenous and environmental leaders have told Texaco and the Ecuadorian government that this "partial solution" is unacceptable. CONFENAIE, the Amazon Defense Front, and the Campaign Amazon for Life are calling on their government to include two critical points they have insisted on since negotiations began last year:

Any remediation and social plan must be based on an environmental and social audit of the impacts of Texaco's former concession.

An independent monitoring committee must be established to oversee and guarantee the plan's full implementation using state-of-theart technology.

Without these guarantees, the organizations are demanding the "greenwash" agreement be annulled, and the international campaign to hold Texaco fully responsible for its rainforest destruction will continue.

From World Rainforest Report, July - September 1995

1995 Rainforest Action Network. Commercial reproduction prohibited. Students, teachers, and activists may copy articles for limited distribution.

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Posted to NATIVE-L ( on July 14, 1995 by Rainforest Action Network (