8.6 Billion Dollar Fine for Environmental ContaminationFeb 15th, 2011 | By Michael Bittner | Category: Analysis, News and Notes, Environmental Management, Soil and Groundwater
Yahoo News and the Associated Press reported yesterday that a judge in Ecuador found a global oil and gas company liable for soil and ground water contamination associated with historic drilling operations that impacted Ecuador’s northern jungle. The company was ordered to pay US$ 8.6 billion in remediation and restoration costs. The amount was far below the $27.3 billion recommended by a court-appointed expert. Plaintiffs allege that their hunting and fishing grounds near the headwaters of the Amazon River were contaminated by toxic wastewater.
The court decision specifies that the company pay $6 billion for cleanup of soil and water, $1.4 billion to build health care systems, and $800 million for creating health care plans and treating cancer patients. The remainder will be spent on recovering native plant species, building water distribution systems and repairing cultural damage.
About the Author
Michael Bittner, CPEA, is an associate partner in the Boston, U.S.A. office of Environmental Resources Management and editor of the EHS Journal. He has more than 20 years of experience in the EHS field, including 17 years of EHS consulting experience and four years as the corporate environmental manager for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor. Mr. Bittner specializes in global EHS solutions including
- Compliance and management systems auditing.
- EHS management systems implementation and design.
- Sustainability solutions.
- Mergers and acquisitions support.
He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Auditing Roundtable.
Photograph: Butterfly by Pigi Vigi, Tartu, Eesti, Estonia.