Canada Supreme Court rejects Ecuador damages appeal against Chevron

Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal from a group of Ecuadoran villagers seeking compensation from the Canadian subsidiary of US energy giant Chevron over oil pollution in the Amazon jungle.

The indigenous villagers from central Ecuador want the company to pay for pollution of native lands between 1964 and 1992 by Texaco, a US oil subsidiary the firm bought in 2001.

The decision, for which the court did not offer a reason, puts an end to the group’s attempt to sue Chevron Canada Limited for $9.5 billion in compensation.

The original ruling dates back to 2011 and was twice upheld on appeal in Ecuador. But, as the company has no assets in Ecuador, the plaintiffs turned to courts in several other countries — including the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina — to try and enforce the ruling.

An Ontario appeals court had previously ruled in 2017 that the firm’s Canadian subsidiary was a legally distinct from its US parent company and its assets could not be seized.

The Supreme Court’s decision also comes after an appeals court in The Hague cancelled a September ruling in Ecuador that Chevron pay $9.5 billion in damages.

In a statement, Chevron celebrated the decision — claiming the ruling in Ecuador was “procured through bribery, fraud and other racketeering activity.”

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