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8 Aug 2008

Clare Kendall, Telegraph [UK]

Amazonian Chernobyl - Ecuador's oil environment disaster

Once it was pristine rainforest. Now it has been described as an Amazonian Chernobyl. Millions of gallons of crude oil and toxic waste…has blighted 1,700 hectares of land and poisoned the rivers and streams in Sucumbios in the north-east corner of Ecuador…Indigenous Indian people blame the pollution on the US oil giant Chevron - formerly Texaco - and say it has caused a catalogue of health problems…Chevron, who operated as a minority partner with Ecuador's own state-owned extraction company, Petroecuador, claims its responsibilities ended in 1992 when it handed over its operations in Sucumbios to the state and implemented a $40 million remediation programme. The responsibility, they claim, now lies with Petroecuador.