THE PINK DOLPHIN:Chevron CEO Lying About Ecuador to Shareholders
Chevron CEO Slammed for Lying About Ecuador to Shareholders, SEC and Public at Annual Meeting
SAN RAMON,- After six years as Chevron CEO and Chair of the Board John Watson has been unable to resolve major shareholder unrest over his leadership. In one of its strongest rebukes to date, thirty percent of Chevron shareholders representing $57.6 billion of assets under management sent a clear message to Watson and his team on the Ecuador issue: your leadership has failed. Sponsors of the resolution contended that “Chevron’s management has materially mishandled legal matters brought against the company by communities in Ecuador – in ways that increased liabilities for the matter, currently amounting to $9.5 billion. Moreover, proponents are concerned about the adequacy of the company’s disclosure of those risks to shareholders.”
Again, the issue of the company’s ongoing contamination in Ecuador and efforts by indigenous and farmer communities to enforce their $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron dominated the meeting.
Humberto Piaguaje, Secoya indigenous leaders whose community has been gravely affected by Chevron’s pollution in the Amazon, addressed the CEO directly: “Mr. Watson, stop your racism against us. We are neither manipulated nor will we ever be manipulated by lawyers or anyone else, as you continually repeat. We are intelligent enough to think and act for ourselves and to seek justice.” To which Watson inexplicably responded, “We are sorry that the indigenous people of Ecuador have been manipulated by lawyers and by their own government.”
Watson had absolutely no response to repeated questions about the company’s $11 billion liability in Canada and specific criticism of his mismanagement of the issue. Instead he turned to a Chevron-produced video released months ago alleging that the company “cleaned up its part” in Ecuador. Unfortunately for Watson, Amazon Watch immediately responded to the video pointing out to the room, “If that were true, why did your own technicians find toxic contamination in 2005 on those very sites you claimed in this video to have cleaned up years prior? In 2014, your own lawyers authenticated leaked videos showing toxic contamination remains at the Texaco-only operated sites. They even interviewed local residents who were still getting sick at the time from the contamination you accepted responsibility for as recently as a few months ago in your new video.”
While Chevron’s propaganda video blames Petroecuador for its own legacy of contamination in Ecuador, after the Ecuadorian government Chevron is by far the largest processor of Petroecuador’s oil. Not only is Chevron refusing to clean up its legacy of contamination; it’s deepening it by refining nearly 70,000 barrels a day of oil from the Amazon.
At the next mention of the words “Amazon contamination” Watson become visibly flustered and frustrated, shutting off the microphone and disallowing further questions on the Ecuador issue. Tellingly, he said, “I’ve been trying to answer questions on Ecuador for seven years and I am not going to take any more questions.”
For Watson, who took over the reins as CEO from David O’Reilly, Chevron’s liability on the Ecuador issue is squarely on his shoulders. Watson was the principal architect of the merger between Texaco and Chevron in 2000, despite being fully aware of Texaco’s toxic legacy in Ecuador and ongoing litigation. Texaco operated in Ecuador’s Amazon between 1964 and 1990, using obsolete technology and dumping billions of gallons of toxic wastewater into the Amazon ecosystem and poisoning local communities. It left behind over a thousand toxic waste pits that continue to contaminate the region. The Ecuadorians won a historic verdict against the company and are seeking to enforce their judgment in several countries where Chevron has significant assets.
Chevron is staring down an $11 billion debt collection action in Canada for failure to pay the 2011 Ecuadorian verdict. The affected communities in Ecuador recently won a resounding victory before Canada’s Supreme Court in their effort to force Watson to comply with the judgment by seizing the company’s assets. In Canada, Chevron has an estimated $15 billion worth of oil fields, bank accounts, and refineries – or more than enough to pay the entirety of the Ecuador judgment. No mention was made of this liability in Watson’s report to shareholders, nor has the company reported it to the SEC in accordance with the law.
Adding to Chevron’s problems in Canada is growing solidarity between the country’s First Nations and indigenous communities affected in Ecuador. Chevron has significant upstream development projects and pipelines planned in Canada, some of which are on or slated for First Nations’ territory.
“As First Nations peoples of Canada, we stand with the affected indigenous communities in Ecuador who continue their decades-long quest for justice from Chevron for its deliberate contamination of the Amazon rainforest,” said Michelle Thrush, Cree from Treaty 7 in Alberta Canada, noted Canadian actor and winner of a Gemini Award (Canada’s highest honor for Screen Actors).
Adding to Watson’s blunders as CEO, Chevron admits it is still paying disgraced Ecuadorian ex-judge Alberto Guerra, the key witness in Chevron’s retaliatory RICO case who recently admitted under oath that he lied about the alleged bribe from the Ecuadorians. As part an ill-advised parallel case Chevron filed with the Hague, Chevron was forced to concede that a witness who already lacked any credibility for admitting to lying and accepting numerous bribes in his past, Guerra “exaggerated to Chevron in an attempt to improve his negotiating position,” as Chevron itself indicated it its own legal filings. Yet Watson failed to disclose these important legal developments to his shareholders.
Watson also faced harsh criticisms for wasting millions more shareholder funds in an outright attempt to buy local elections in Richmond, CA last year. The company’s candidates received a thumping from grassroots Richmond Progressive Alliance candidates and the entire debacle has made Chevron a prime target for the movement to get corporate funding out of politics. Richmond continues its $24 million suit against Chevron for the 2012 refinery fire which sent 15,000 people to the hospital.
In fact, Chevron faced six additional shareholder resolutions related to climate change in addition to appointing a board member with environmental expertise. Chevron leadership remains completely divorced from reality in insisting that by 2040 a full 60 percent of the world’s energy needs will be met by oil and gas. Despite the clear climate science about the dangers of methane emissions, Watson said that the company would address climate issues primarily via the “miracle of hydraulic fracturing.” Watson claimed Chevron “does not disagree” with the Paris Climate Accord but accepts none of the policies intended to implement it.
“It’s astonishing that John Watson still has a job. Under his leadership, or lack thereof, Chevron’s liabilities have snowballed, its brand has taken a beating, and any lingering idea that Chevron had any dedication to environmental or social responsibility has been eviscerated,” said Paul Paz y Miño. “Poisoning local communities where you operate, belittling them afterwards, and in some cases suing them, is no way to conduct business.
Source: CSR News
Chevron CEO To His Board: Our Ecuador Problem Just Won’t Go Away
[Of course, we don’t have access to Chevron’s internal communications. But if we did, this “memo” is what we imagine we might see. It’s hard to peek into the mind of someone who is responsible for massive environmental destruction and human rights violations, but based on John Watson’s actions as Chevron CEO this should be about right.] Reposted from the Eye On The Amazon
Dear Chevron Board of Directors and Senior Management:
This Wednesday will mark my sixth Annual Shareholder Meeting as your Chair and Chief Executive Officer. I want to thank you for the complete trust and lack of oversight you have given to me and our legal team headed up by Hew Pate in handling the ongoing Ecuador matter. Regretfully, I must inform you that we will once again have to deal with representatives of the indigenous and farmer communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and their many misguided allies at the meeting on Wednesday.
As you know, our primary strategy since Chevron merged with Texaco (thanks in great part to my work as chief architect of the merger) is to spare no expense in dragging out legal proceedings as long as possible (and given our hefty bank accounts, that could last longer than all the remaining oil reserves, am I right?). We will continue that approach in Canada and anywhere else, or as our PR team so aptly put it: “until hell freezes over.”
However, there are a number of developments since the meeting last year. I have anticipated some of your questions and will endeavor to respond to them below:
Yes, the Canadian Supreme Court sided unanimously with the Ecuadorians to allow their enforcement proceeding to begin there this Fall. Not to worry, we have hired multiple firms in Canada and we fully expect to be able to drag that trial out for many more years in hopes our opponents finally run out of funding to continue the fight.
No, we have not reported this $11 billion liability to the SEC for this case. Of course, we will stand by our claims that Chevron-Canada can never be held liable for Chevron’s actions. (Don’t worry, we still get to list all the assets of Chevron-Canada as ours in our annual report). Sure, someone at the SEC or Department of Justice might figure out that we’re trying to have it both ways. But I’m pretty sure our bylaws allow for having our cake and eating it too.
Yes, there’s risk we will have to ‘clean up’ and ‘pay up’ as the activists say. And this whole Canada thing could affect our existing operations and new upstream development plans. But, no matter what happens, I look forward to receiving a generous bonus and I promise to give you a few weeks notice before I “float away on my golden parachute.”
Yes, we are still awaiting the decision of the Second Circuit of Appeals on that RICO case that Judge Kaplan so graciously advised us to file. It is true that if we win it doesn’t prevent the communities from continuing their enforcement actions, but we’re happy to have paid Gibson Dunn so much money that the firm opened a new international litigation spin-off to help companies like us get off the hook for paying for things like environmental remediation and rights abuses.
No, even though Judge Wesley suggested it, we will not be forced to try the original case all over again in front of the Second Circuit in New York. Ted Olson has assured me that they can’t actually force us do that. Quite a relief, what with the pollution, cancers, and stuff.
No, our case is not dead just because our star witness Judge Alberto Guerra admitted to lying on the stand and forensic evidence shows that the Ecuador judgment was indeed written by the presiding judge. I mean, sure, it’s not great, but to quote my buddy Don Rumsfeld, ‘you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want’. Probably shouldn’t have given him a backpack full of cash, though. I’m going to add a note to self here that we’ve got to be more creative when bribing people.
Yes, in the “bribery” column of your report you will see that we will continue to pay the housing costs and “stipend” for Judge Guerra for at least another year. If we failed to continue this support it might look like we were only paying him to testify in our favor, so his admission of lying under oath in the RICO case actually demonstrates that the $2 million he has received from Chevron can in no way be seen as a bribe. Good news! And of course, we don’t want him to turn on us and further, so consider it well invested hush money.
Yes, it is true that our legal team verified the leaked inspection videos from 2005 released by Amazon Watch. (No bonuses for those involved!) Those videos show our technicians finding toxic waste at sites we defended as clean in the Ecuadorian trial. Fortunately, we have successfully kept them off mainstream media in the US with some well written letters from our lawyers and the protection of Judge Kaplan’s verdict. As such, they have only been viewed a few million times on the internet.
If you are confronted by any Ecuadorian “natives” at the meeting, I recommend you take my posture of simply dismissing them as naive people who have been manipulated by “greedy New York lawyers”. If they have water with them, DO NOT DRINK IT.
Once again, just as we expect this divestment movement to fade away, we estimate that eventually the Ecuadorians and their lawyers will run out of support and be forced to abandon their case. I promise you that day is coming… they can’t live forever after all, especially given that water they have to drink.
Let’s just get through this meeting on Wednesday and engage as little as possible with people from Ecuador, Richmond, Canada, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Romania… and anywhere else our operations generate “protest”.
Remember what I said last year, “the path to prosperity is through fossil fuels.” For most of the world it may be an oil soaked path through a desert world, but just look at how good it has been to all of us!
Chief Executive Officer AND Chairman of the Board
Source: Huffpost Green
Gustavo López Ospina
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Pink Dolphin” were taken by Mr. Schafer.