Oil Industry Braces for Trial on Rights Abuses

The NY Times’ Jad Mouawad has an article (here) about the series of impending lawsuits against major oil companies, which have become possible due to a new reading of an old law – the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789.  As it stands there are pending law suits working their way through the courts the titans of the oil industry, which has already been exposed to widespread populist anger last summer when gas prices peaked at over $4.00 a gallon.  When one considers the hundreds of billions of dollars in profits that the major petroleum companies have made over the last decades, then it is hard to feel too sorry for them.

The Times piece focuses largely on the lawsuit being pushed forward by Ken Saro Wiwa Jr., the son of the prominent human rights defender Ken Saro Wiwa, who was hung by the Abacha regime in 1995 while the Shell regime stayed almost entirely silent.  Naturally, Shell has denied any wrong doing, but is clearly spooked that so much of its dirty laundry will apparently be hung out to dry as such a case moves forward.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Almost no industry deserves its comeuppance more than the oil industry.  Sadly, they have proven extremely capable of dragging out legal cases for decades, as they have in Alaska following the Valdez spill or in Ecuador in the case of Chevron.  Once can only hope that justice will finally be served.


2 responses to “Oil Industry Braces for Trial on Rights Abuses

  1. When is the lawsuit for the high gas prices going to happen? When will US public realize that even at $100.00 a barrel, including cost of production and transportation the oil companies would still make a profit at $1.75 per gallon…. LET THEM BURN!

  2. I do agree that those big oil companies do everything just to make money. They don’t care about environment or people.
    Texaco (Chevron bought Texaco in 2001) dumped over 18 billion gallons of oil and toxic water into the streams in Ecuador. Today the drinking water is contaminated and over 1,000 people have died from cancer and thousands more are sick with skin disease and respiratory illnesses and Chevron still does not want to take the responsibility for that mess!

    For more information, see this blog: http://www.thechevronpit.blogspot.com

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