The oil giant Chevron has been ordered to pay more than $17 billion in fines and punitive damages in a long-running case over environmental contamination in Ecuador. Amazonian residents sued Texaco, which was then purchased by Chevron, for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste into Ecuador's rain forest since the 1970s.
On Monday, an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron to pay an $8.6 billion fine and an equal amount in punitive damages. It's the second-largest total assessed for environmental damages behind the $20 billion compensation fund for BP's Gulf Coast oil spill. Chevron has vowed to appeal, but it has also suggested it will not pay up under any circumstance, calling the ruling "illegitimate and unenforceable." The plaintiffs also say they plan to appeal because the damages are too low.
Democracy Now! interviewed Andrew Miller with Amazon Watch to talk more about this landmark case.