Topic: Environmental Concerns in Middle and South America: Role of Multinational Corporations
Instructions: In this assignment, you are going to watch two videos listed below. The two videos involve a case in which American oil company Texaco (later on Chevron) committed environmental crimes while drilling oil in Ecuador and spent millions of dollars to avoid litigation. You will then answer ALL the questions under each video (Video 1=8 questions; Video 2=6 questions – total 14.
- First, read all the questions for the video under review.
- Then with paper and pen, watch the video and take notes of important facts related to the questions.
- Answer the questions with information derived from the video.
Video1: Title: The True Story of Chevron’s Ecuador Disaster 15 min. 49 sec.
- 1)List three things (ordinarily required) in the drilling of oil that Texaco operations in Ecuador avoided or simply knowingly did not follow -leading to the worst act of environmental abuse of its time. In other words, what industry-standard oil drilling practices were ignored or not followed or done wrong?
- 2)List 5 human health impacts from exposure to Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) mentioned in video 1.
- 3)Describe two tactics mentioned in video 1 Chevron used to get away with this environmental crime?
- 4)If Chevron (initially Texaco) had drilled oil and made profits for over 30 years, why was compensating the indigenous communities and cleaning up the toxic waste NOT AN OPTION for their company?
- 5)How did Chevron involve the U.S Government (U.S Congress) to undermine the case brought against them involving one of the worst environmental disasters of all time?
- 6)Why was it possible for a foreign company (Texaco, later Chevron) to commit such environmental atrocities for so long in Ecuador, an independent country with a government and laws?
- 7)In 1993-2011, Chevron was facing legal action from human rights activists representing poor indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon. See two statements below by Chevron representatives during the legal battle over oil pollution.
“Chevron will fight until hell freezes over, and then skate it out on the ice.” Charles James, Former Chevron VP, and General Counsel
“We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this.” Chevron Lobbyist
What do you make of these two quotes? What can you conclude from these two statements regarding Chevron’s attitude towards the environmental disaster? HINT: Corporate responsibility vs the health and rights of poor indigenous communities.
8. Should American companies observe environmental and ethical considerations when they produce and run operations in other countries? Explain your response.
Video 2: Title: The World’s Worst Oil Related Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of | I Was There 11 min. 43 sec.
Video Narrator: Steven Donzinger, Human Rights Lawyer
- 1) When Steven Donzinger first visited Ecuador in 1993, he expected to see oil pollution but he says he was “shocked by the extent of it.” What shocked him?
- 2) Texaco oil drilling operations in Ecuador between 1964 and 1992 are said to have polluted over 1700 square miles of land, larger than the size of the State of Rhode Island. List three reasons why it might have been difficult for the local indigenous Sequoya community to flee and escape the environmental disaster.
- 3) The narrator remarks that Chevron was petrified of a potential jury trial in the United States. Why?
- 4) Chevron successfully moved the trial to Ecuador in 2003. List three tactics Chevron used to sabotage the case involving the World’s worst oil-related disaster?
- 5) According to the narrator, Chevron would rather spend millions of dollars paying 100s of lawyers to fight the case than pay the people they harmed arguing that this would destroy Chevron’s “business model.” What was/is Chevron’s (and other American Multinational Corporations) business model in its production operations in poor countries around the World? Just listen to the video!
- 6) What eventually happened to the narrator of the video Steven Donzinger?