20 Oct 2005
Accusations By Plaintiffs' Attorneys are False and Irresponsible; Court's Order to Postpone Guanta Inspection Made Strictly for Safety Reasons
Quito, Ecuador, October 20, 2005 - Chevron today issued the following statement today in response to criticisms by plaintiffs' attorneys following the Court's postponement of the Guanta Station judicial inspection, as a result of safety concerns:
"To accuse Chevron of manipulating the Court with respect to the postponement of the Guanta station judicial inspection is both completely false and irresponsible. The decision of the Court was the Court's alone. As explained in Judge Novillo's order, the decision was based on the government's own information, and was done strictly out of concern for the safety of people and the security of the station itself.
"Because the judge directly notified the plaintiffs' attorney of this reason, their subsequent press statements appear to be a reckless and deliberate attempt to mislead the public, and show disrespect for the authority of the Court.
"In fact, it was Chevron that had recommended to the Court that the Guanta Station be inspected so that we could demonstrate the effectiveness of Texpet's remediation program, and at the same time illustrate Petroecuador's record of negligence and operational mismanagement since assuming operations of the station in 1990. A total of 18 oil spills have been recorded at the site since 2000; the most recent just last week. And although Texpet installed produced water injection technology at the Guanta Station in 1996, Petroecuador is not utilizing this technology at the site today.
"Finally, we recognize the right of the people of the Oriente to express their views through peaceful demonstration, as they have done on many occasions since the start of the inspection process in 2004.
"We are disappointed by the plaintiffs' attorneys' false and irresponsible accusations and their willingness to manipulate legitimate safety concerns in an attempt to deceive the public. Although we are pleased that the Court chose to keep the safety of people as a paramount concern, we are disappointed at the delay of the inspection, and look forward to it being rescheduled."
The following is a transcript of Judge Novillo's order:
NUEVA LOJA SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE - PRESIDENCY - Nueva Loja, October 18, 2005 at 18.39 p.m. - Incorporate to the proceedings the following document presented by Dr. Adolfo Callejas, as part of Lawsuit No. 002-2003, filed by Dr. Alberto Wray against Chevron Corporation.
In the same manner, this Presidency has received an Intelligence Report from the State's Security Body which establishes the absence of the minimal security conditions required to conduct the Inspection to Guanta Station, located near the Dureno parish; if this diligence were to be conducted, it may conclude with events that have nothing to do with the trial nor with the purpose of this diligence, and may cause harm to the people taking part in the process, as well as to objects existing in the above-mentioned Station.
Therefore, the Judicial Inspection scheduled to take place on Wednesday 19 and Thursday October 20, 2005, is suspended, furthermore because, as it has been previously recorded, this Judicial Inspection was requested by the defendant as the sole petitioner, and the Court shall again announce a timely Inspection to the aforementioned site, once peaceful conditions are regained and the necessary guarantees for the normal development of this diligence are reestablished.
Signed: Dr. Efraín Novillo Guzmán, President of the Superior Court of Nueva Loja
Certified by: Lawyer Liliana Suárez Navarro, Secretary of the Presidency. Nueva Loja, October 18, 2005
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