Monday, April 28, 2008

Wall Street Journal Takes Up Chevron's Cause

By Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 8:28 AM

We all take comfort in the rhythms and eternal truths of the universe. Gnats breed lice. Maggots crawl out of corpses. And the Wall Street Journal editorial page will always flak for Chevron, even when they get busted dumping billions of gallons of petrochemical waste in the Amazon. Just after the Goldman Environmental Prize was awared to a lawyer and an Ecuadorian community activist seeking compensation for indigenous tribes living in the poisoned region, the Journal published in editorial, in which editors called Ecuador a "banana republic," tried to undermine the credibility of the court's expert witness with no evidence whatsoever, argued that the Ecuadorian government promised never to sue Chevron over the issue, and dismissed the massive toxic catastrophe as just another opportunity for Hollywood liberals to feel good about themselves.

Over the weekend, the environmentalists finally got a chance to hit back, as the Journal published three letters in response to the editorial. New York lawyer Steve Doniger pointed out that while Chevron reps have denounced the proceedings as "extortion," and the Journal called the court clearly "politicized," the oil giant itself promised to be bound by the court's ruling in 2002. In fact, Chevron submitted ten separate affidavits praising the impartiality of the Ecuadorian courts, in an effort to switch venues from the American courts. As for the expert that the Journal now sneers at, Doniger points out that in previous years, Chevron has hired the gentleman to provide the very expertise that has become so inconvenient now. Cry us a river, Wall Street Journal, but the days of dumping poison with impunity are coming to an end. Well, in Ecuador, anyway. We suppose there's always Zimbabwe...

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