Chevron’s Reputation as a Major Polluter Grows

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Chevron Corp.’s (NYSE: CVX) reputation as a major polluter recently has grown rapidly, and the cause is not just fines of more than $19 billion to Ecuador for environmental damage in the Amazon region. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Chevron’s attempt to halt enforcement of the judgment. In the meantime, while Chevron has tried to promote itself as a progressive provider of new energy technologies, the list of troubles involving its facilities has grown.

Federal investigators have begun a criminal probe into whether Chevron routed hydrocarbon gases around monitoring equipment. Bay Area Air Quality Management District inspectors uncovered what Chevron was doing and ordered the bypass pipe removed. The district’s executive director, Jack Broadbent, was quoted in SF Gate: “They were routing gas through that pipe to the flare that they were not monitoring.”

In New Jersey, Chevron USA paid a $231,875 fine for air pollution violations and leaks over a four-year period at it asphalt production plant in Perth Amboy. NJ.com reported: “State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, said the DEP and the federal Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint accusing Chevron of violating air quality regulations.”

Chevron has been accused of violating the rights of people in an area of Kazakhstan where it does business. At the core of the claim is that the company’s Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field causes health problems to local residents.

Nigeria’s Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency “said it wants Chevron Corp. (CVX), the world’s fourth-largest energy company, to pay a $3 billion penalty for a rig explosion that caused a 46-day fire,” according to Bloomberg.

Taken individually, these incidents might not cause broad concern about Chevron’s environmental activity. Taken together they do.

On the homepage of Chevron’s main website is this: The Power of Human Energy: Finding Newer, Cleaner Ways to Power The World.” Nice touch. Nice dodge.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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