Historical News Releases & Statements

22 Sep 2007

Laboratory Used By Plaintiffs in Environmental Lawsuit Proven To Be Incompetent

Quito, Ecuador -- September 22, 2007 - Independent testing of the Havoc laboratory used by the plaintiffs' technical experts in the environmental trial against Chevron has found that its analysis of soil and water samples is seriously flawed, proving that the laboratory is not capable of providing credible scientific analysis of evidence for the court. Havoc has produced over 75% of all of the laboratory data that plaintiffs have filed in the case.

This conclusion is based on a 2006 study conducted by Wibby Environmental, an independent laboratory, at Chevron's request. In this Quality Control study (which is a technique commonly used by scientists to confirm the accuracy and authenticity of laboratory analysis), Wibby sent soil and water samples spiked with specific, known amounts of hydrocarbons and metals to Havoc laboratories to determine if Havoc could get the correct results.

The results of the Havoc Laboratory's analyses were compared to the correct values known by Wibby Environmental in order to identify any inconsistencies or flaws in their methodologies and reporting. The source of the samples, and the sponsor of the analysis, was withheld from Havoc in order to ensure an unprejudiced result.

For water samples, the comparison of the analyses by Havoc showed:

  • Havoc laboratory's analysis showed levels of barium, cadmium, copper & nickel that exceeded the concentrations in the samples they were sent. Havoc's analysis for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or "PAHs" (petroleum compounds) was incomplete.

For soil samples, the comparison of the analyses by the plaintiffs' labs showed:

  • Havoc had "unacceptable" results for barium, cadmium.

Chevron has submitted the report to the Superior Court of Nueva Loja. Meanwhile, the 20th Civil Court of Pichincha, for close to two years, has been attempting to inspect the Havoc lab in order to verify its competency to carry out the scientific analysis required for the trial. On eight separate occasions since February 2006, attorneys for the plaintiffs and for the Havoc lab have blocked the Court's efforts to inspect the facility.

"This independent analysis verifies what we have suspected and what the plaintiffs are clearly trying to hide - the Havoc lab is incompetent and the reports they have prepared in behalf of the plaintiffs cannot be trusted," said Ricardo Veiga Managing Counsel for Chevron Latin America.

"Plaintiffs' lawyers are afraid that if the truth were exposed about this lab, the Court and the world would see that their allegations against Chevron are made up of nothing but lies and fabrications," Veiga added. "We insist that the plaintiffs' attorneys and the activist groups that have brought this baseless lawsuit be called to explain the deceit and the fraud they have perpetrated against the Court, their clients, and Ecuador."

Wibby Environmental is a performance testing provider accredited by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to ensure quality control and accuracy in U.S. environmental laboratories.

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