Ecuador's case against Chevron even more of a farce

It’s been a while since we checked in on the several year old effort of the Ecuadorian government, in league with a number of environmentalist activists in the United States, to pick the pockets of Chevron after taking over their energy exploration efforts in that nation. In fact, the last time we reported on it, the Judge in the case had admitted to being bribed to bring the case forward. Well, things haven’t improved much since then for the would-be lottery winners. Their so called “expert testimony” providers have now been forced to disavow their own testimony.

Stratus Consulting has provided sworn declarations outlining the firm’s knowledge of the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ misconduct in the ongoing environmental litigation in Lago Agrio, Ecuador as well as testifying that there is no scientific merit to the plaintiffs’ damages claims against Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and Texaco Petroleum (TexPet).

Chevron recently settled pending fraud and extortion claims against Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus. Stratus had been the lead environmental consultants to the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the trial.

“We are pleased that Stratus came forward to reveal the truth. We call on others with knowledge of the fraud tainting the trial in Ecuador to come forward and do the right thing,” said Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel.

The truly interesting part about this isn’t the apparent collapse of the case in Ecuador, but what seems to be an acknowledgment of the active involvement of American based activists. It’s not difficult to imagine activists as well as corrupt jurists in Ecuador being complicit in an attempt to grab a few billion dollars from an international energy provider, but Stratus is one of the partners back home who had been beating the drums and trying to give a black eye to Chevron.

This appears, at least from the layman’s perspective, to be tantamount to an admission of guilt to the attempted fraud which has been going on for years. But the length of the path to get to this point must be frustrating to those who put so much work into legitimate efforts to expand energy exploration and the benefits it has brought to workers across the globe. With this revelation, perhaps we’re finally coming to the end of this long, sad tale.