Supreme Court rejects Chevron $19 billion Ecuador appeal

  • Chevron has lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid to block a $19 billion judgment by an Ecuadorian court over pollution in the Amazon rainforest.

    The oil company was fighting a ruling that it must pay $18.2 billion in damages. The sum increased to $19 billion in July.

    The decision is the latest development in an almost two-decade legal battle between Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, and the people of the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador.

    The decision could impact other oil firms accused of pollution.

    The high court did not explain why it rejected the appeal from Chevron.

    The case claimed that Texaco polluted land between 1964 and 1992.

    Chevron has said it believes the judgement, handed down by a court in Ecuador in February 2011, is fraudulent and cannot be enforced under New York law.

    In March 2011, a court in New York issued an injunction that blocked the judgement. It was overturned in January this year by an appeals court, which said Chevron had challenged the judgement prematurely.

    The judgement originally ordered $8.6 billion in environmental damages, but was more than doubled because the oil company did not issue a public apology.

    "While Chevron is disappointed that the court denied our petition, we will continue to defend against the plaintiffs' lawyers' attempts to enforce the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment, and to further expose their misconduct," Chevron said in an email statement.