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Epic Chevron Oil Pollution Case Goes Before Canadian Supreme Court

Flames burning gas in the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador
Flames burning gas in the Lago Agrio oil field in EcuadorPhotographer: Moises Saman/The New York Times

Lawyers have fought for 21 years in courts in a half-dozen countries over who’s responsible for oil contamination in the rain forest in Ecuador. On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada will hold oral arguments on whether that nation should get involved in the fracas.

Ecuadorean villagers are trying to enforce a multibillion-dollar judgment they won in their home country in 2011. Chevron, the target of that judgment, vows it’ll never pay a dime on a verdict the company disdains as a total sham. Chevron contends the main plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Donziger of New York, is an extortionist and that, in any event, it isn’t responsible for the pollution in question.