Chevron, one of many companies grabbing at Brazil’s huge underwater oil reserves, is in trouble with the Brazilian government after a major spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last month. After 3,000 barrels of crude oil from a Chevron-operated well poured into the ocean in November, Brazilian police filed an $11 billion lawsuit against Chevron and rig owner Transocean (the same firm that owned Deepwater Horizon) on charges of negligence and environmental crimes. The National Petroleum Agency has also temporarily banned Chevron from further drilling in Brazil.
Federal prosecutors urge for charges to be brought against 17 Chevron and Transocean employees, including Chevron’s president in Brazil George Buck, for withholding information and committing environmental damage. The officer leading the investigation, Fabio Scliar, stated, “I am utterly convinced that the company’s institutional policy is reckless and irresponsible. Therefore, the executives are responsible.” Chevron has apologized but stressed that the allegations are “without merit.”
The outrage in Brazil might be compounded by the fact that the World Cup and Summer Olympics are coming there in 2014 and 2016 so there is pressure for the beaches to look picture perfect. Also, Chevron’s disgusting environmental track record doesn’t inspire confidence. AlterNet, an independent environmental news agency, ranked Chevron the number one worst energy company in the world partly due to their toxic dumping and human rights abuses in Ecuador.