November 15, 2006
World Renowned Experts find Chevron's Sampling and Analysis Plan Effective, Comprehensive and Scientifically Sound for Evaluating Oilfield Sites in Ecuadorian Environmental Trial
Experts Find Plaintiffs' Allegations Baseless and Seriously Flawed
Quito, Ecuador, November 15, 2006 - A report by independent environmental engineers submitted as evidence in the ongoing environmental trial in Ecuador found that Chevron's Sampling and Analysis Plan is accurate and appropriate for the scope of judicial inspection process underway. The judicial inspection of oil field sites are to determine if Texaco Petroleum Company, a Chevron subsidiary, effectively remediated the sites under an agreement with the Government of Ecuador, and if there is any associated oil-related environmental or health risk.
The report was prepared by recognized authorities in the field, Pedro J. Alvarez, Ph.D., Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University, Douglas M. Mackay, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in the Department of Land, Air & Water Resources at the University of California at Davis and Consulting Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Robert E. Hinchee, Ph.D., an environmental engineer with a Ph.D. Utah State University and founding editor of the Journal of Bioremediation. Their study, commissioned by Chevron, also analyzes a report submitted to the court by the plaintiffs that criticized Chevron's sampling and analysis program.
The effectiveness of Chevron's program is verified by these experts who state, "Based on our review of Chevron's Sampling and Analysis Program, we have found it to be well designed and executed to meet the stated goals (i.e., assess remediation compliance and risks to human health at the time of the Judicial Inspection) and certainly consistent with international practice. Additionally, we have found that the program is one that was jointly developed and carried out with full involvement by the Plaintiffs and with mutual oversight."
In the report, the experts comment specifically on the paper submitted by Plaintiffs and authored by Ann Maest, Mark Quarles, and Bill Powers; "Our review of Maest et al.'s criticism of Chevron's sampling and analysis has found that their serious allegations are baseless... It appears Maest et al. did not do a complete review of the program and that they were apparently not fully aware of international practices and standards as applied to oil field cleanup."
The following are excerpts from the Alvarez/Mackay/Hinchee report that was submitted as evidence to the court:
Adequacy of Chevron's Selection of Soil Sample Locations
"Chevron's Sampling Program is adequate to achieve its stated objectives and certainly would meet a relevant U.S. standard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or otherwise... The overall approach to sampling and analysis was as much a product of the Plaintiffs' direction as Chevron's, and these activities were conducted under mutual oversight. This fact makes Maest's criticisms particularly puzzling."
Adequacy of Laboratory Tests Used by Chevron for Remediated Soils
"It appears that Maest et al. were not aware of the analyses being done by Chevron. In fact, Chevron did analyze all soils during the Judicial Inspections using exactly the total TPH technique Maest et al. recommended. Had Maest et al. read Chevron's Judicial Inspection expert reports carefully, they would have been aware of this. It appears that Maest et al.'s criticism on this point disregards the facts."
The Appropriate Role of Institutional Controls at These Sites
"Maest et al. criticize Chevron for the lack of institutional controls by Texpet (Texaco Petroleum Company) and state... It would not have been possible for TEXPET to place institutional controls on these sites, nor for Chevron to have enforced them. Maest et al. appear not to understand industry practice in the rest of the world where institutional controls rather than 'always' being used are, in fact, rarely used at oil field sites."
Adequacy of Chevron's Use of U.S. EPA Guidance and Related Standards and Norms
"The criteria Chevron used are reasonable and within the standard of practice for cleanup of such sites worldwide. Maest et al. are critical of Chevron's approach and accuse Chevron of inventing norms and misapplying U.S. EPA guidance. Maest et al. offer little evidence and we found nothing to support these allegations."
View the full text of the report Evaluation of Chevron's Sampling and Analysis Methods (PDF, 64KB)
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