Letters to the Editor

September 1, 2009

LettersVote With Your Dollars Against Chevron’s Practices

This is the logo of America’s third-largest corporation (after buying Texaco in 2001). It is being sued by 30,000 indigenous residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon for the horrendous oil-production pollution Texaco left there. When they sued in the federal court in Manhattan, Texaco, praising the Ecuadoran judicial system, argued the case should be heard down there.

Texaco won that motion in 2003, after a decade of litigation, and doubtless expected the case to disappear. Instead, now Chevron is looking at a potentially huge Ecuadorian judgment — the court-appointed expert has calculated the damage at almost $27 billion. chevronTexaco left the Amazon years ago and has no assets there, so the plaintiffs would look to satisfy any big judgment from Chevron’s assets in the U.S. But now Chevron says the Ecuadorian courts are corrupt and it can’t get a fair shake there and it has
vowed not to pay.

Take a look at these Sixty Minutes videos (Parts I and II), which give a hint at how horrific the pollution is: http://bit.ly/2c81r .

Chevron will seek to litigate the legitimacy of any Ecuadorian judgment in a U.S. court, where it is apparent their real strategy will be to delay the reckoning for as long as possible. “We’re not paying and we’re going to fight this for years if not decades into the future,” Chevron spokesman Don Campbell said in an interview, (Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124804873580263085.html). Indeed, when evidence in the Ecuador trial started to point to Chevron’s culpability, the company began to attack the very courts that it previously praised and Chevron General Counsel Charles James promised the indigenous plaintiffs “a lifetime of litigation”, http://ecuador-rising.blogspot.com/2009/03/chevrons-legal-strategy-backfires.html.

I expect not to be buying any Chevron gasoline “for years if not decades”, maybe even for “a lifetime” (whichever comes first), and I hope you won’t either. Pass it on. Φ

–Bob Projansky, Portland, OR

Chevron logo: http://www.google.com/images?q=tbn:5_PGoNYZi5l90M::www.beg.utexas.edu/fomel/graphics/logo_Chevron.jpg.

Mountaintop Removal Protest Prompts Bail Money Request

Three of the four protesters arrested in a recent protest against mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia are being held on $250 bail. Mike Bowersox, a long-time member of Seeds of Peace, is being held on $1,000 bail due to his long history of nonviolent civil disobedience. We have money to get the three out, but not Mike. If you can help with bail money, call 304.854.7372. Or you can go to www.mountainjustice.org and donate via Paypal. If you do, put “bail” in the comment section. Any help is appreciated.bettysbooks1

The fact that they are doing these things proves we are being effective here in West Virginia. We need more people to offer civil disobedience here to end mountain top removal. We also need money to carry on our campaign to end this egregious plan. Any help that people can give is greatly appreciated. Money for the ongoing campaign can be donated through the Climate Ground Zero web site http://climategroundzero.org/, or mailed to Mike Roselle, P.O. Box 163, Rock Creek, WV 25174. If you want a tax deduction, make checks out to American Forest Alliance. Φ

–James “Guin” McGuiness, Rock Creek, WV

ACES Bill Too Watered Down to Support

I am pleased to see the organization’s focus on climate change, which is a primary issue in my professional and personal life. Educational events, such as the “Crisis Walk” are critical to the imperative for a stronger response to climate change.

I have a couple comments on the strategy:

First, I realize the rising oceans element of climate change is probably the most important to people living on the coast, but I hope the educational message goes beyond the future private interests of coastal residents, to include the current problems and suffering that is already taking place in other parts of the world.

Second, you present the Waxman Markey Bill (ACES) in a totally positive light. I assume you’ve heard the position of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Peter DeFazio, James Hanson and many others: the House bill was watered down past the point of acceptability, and several months in the Senate will inevitably cause further deterioration. I urge you to look at this bill closely and set an organizational limit as to how watered down you will accept. The notion that “any bill is better than no bill” has not worked well for forty years of environmental legislation, and is a potentially dangerous way to view ACES. Simply removing the impact of the landmark Supreme Court decision authorizing EPA to regulate GHGs as a public health concern was all I needed to hear in order to stop my support for this bill. To pass a “bad” bill means being stuck with its implementation phase for too many years, and the science in
increasingly clear that we don’t have the luxury of experimenting with this bill.

I am convinced that the only way to come even close to meeting 2020 emission goals is to engage quickly in change far more dramatic than has resulted from the stimulus dollars, and more dramatic than the very bulky text of ACES. The required change depends on a major shift in the public will, which is a massive educational challenge. Φ

–Rick Barnett, Oregon Coast

Voice of the People? NOT.

GOP sympathizers and anti-tax protestors at Democratic town hall meetings across the nation are out to control and shape the health care debate. You’ve seen this raucous bunch on TV. Protestors at the town hall meetings, yelling, screaming, stomping their feet like 2-year olds, trying to drown out the speakers with their way or no way — all in the name of insurance companies and ideology.

In 2000, the same types of people, Republican operatives in Florida, with the same tactics, screaming “Stop the vote count,” gave America eight years of George Bush.

These extremists keep on beating their drums feloniously proclaiming “It’s the voice of the people.” Φ

–Ron Lowe, Nevada City, CA

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