Ecuador court halves Chevron pollution judgement

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s highest court has cut in half a landmark judgment against Chevron Corp. for oil contamination in the Amazon, putting the penalty at $8.8 billion.

The sum equals the original judgment against the oil multinational awarded by a local judge in February 2011.

That amount was doubled a year later after Chevron refused to publicly apologize for the contamination, which occurred between 1972 and 1990 under a Texaco-led consortium. Chevron later bought Texaco.

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The National Court of Justice said in Tuesday’s ruling that nothing in Ecuadorean law justifies doubling a civil award for environmental or other damage.

The Associated Press obtained the ruling on Wednesday.

Chevron has refused to pay the plaintiffs in the case, claiming fraud, and has tied them up in courts and arbitration panels on three continents.