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Amazon Defense Coalition: Mickey Kantor Criticized For Lobbying Former Agency That He Led for Chevron Trade Rep Accusing of Trying to Help Chevron Quash Contamination Lawsuit in Ecuador.

WASHINGTON -- Citing new lobbying rules put into place by the Obama Administration, two environmental groups are strongly criticizing Mickey Kantor for lobbying on behalf of Chevron before the same trade agency he led for several years under the Clinton Administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law
.

Kantor, who headed the office of the United States Trade Representative The Office of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR, is an arm of the executive branch of the United States government that falls within the Executive Office of the President.  from 1993 to 1997, has been lobbying the same office to quash a historic environmental lawsuit brought by indigenous groups in Ecuador's rainforest where the oil giant faces a potential $27 billion liability for creating what some experts have called the worst oil-related contamination on earth. Kantor's role was disclosed last week by the National Journal.

The criticism of Kantor comes just one day before James McGovern James McGovern is the name of:
  • James J. McGovern, Ph.D., current president of A.T. Still University
  • James P McGovern, or Jim McGovern, current member of the United States House of Representatives
  • James McGovern, current United Kingdom Member of Parliament
 (D-MA) convenes the first Congressional hearing Congressional hearings are the principal formal method by which committees collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking. Whether confirmation hearings — a procedure unique to the Senate — legislative, oversight, investigative, or a  on the human rights aspect of Chevron's environmental contamination in Ecuador. Scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in room 2200 of the Rayburn Building, the hearing will feature Steven Donziger, a legal advisor to the Amazonian communities who have been battling Chevron in court for more than 15 years.

"Mickey Kantor is violating the spirit of lobbying rules put in place by the Obama Administration to help a corporate polluter that has destroyed a large portion of the rain forest," said Mitch Anderson, who monitors Chevron's Ecuador lawsuit for Amazon Watch, an environmental group in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden .

Luis Yanza, the internationally recognized leader of the Amazon Defense Coalition in Ecuador, blasted Kantor for "betraying President Obama's commitment to protect the integrity of government by doing Chevron's dirty work in his old agency."

"Chevron left an oil dump in the rainforest that has killed hundreds of people with cancer and devastated dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 indigenous groups, and now U.S. lobbyists are trying to politicize po·lit·i·cize  
v. po·lit·i·cized, po·lit·i·ciz·ing, po·lit·i·ciz·es

v.intr.
To engage in or discuss politics.

v.tr.
 and corrupt the trial process that Chevron wanted," said Luis Yanza, a Goldman Award winner who coordinates the lawsuit for more than 80 farmer communities and indigenous groups.

Under an executive order issued in January by President Obama, officials who leave government are permanently barred from lobbying the Obama Administration. When he issued the order, President Obama said: "We need to close the revolving door that lets lobbyists O use their time in public service as a way to promote their own interests over the interests of the American people An American people may be:
  • any nation or ethnic group of the Americas
  • see Demographics of North America
  • see Demographics of South America
 when they leave."

The legal case, brought on behalf of 30,000 people, originally was filed in U.S. federal court in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 in 1993. After years of legal battles over jurisdiction, the case was transferred to Ecuador in 2002 after Chevron submitted 14 expert affidavits asserting the South American country would be the most appropriate venue.

When the trial started in 2003 and evidence pointed to Chevron's culpability culpability (See: culpable) , the oil giant shifted gears and started to attack Ecuador's courts and launched a lobbying campaign against Ecuador's government.

Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, was the exclusive operator of large oil concession in Ecuador's rainforest from 1964 to 1990. The company has admitted to dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic waste toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It usually is the product of industry or commerce, but comes also from residential use, agriculture, the military, medical facilities, radioactive sources, and  into Amazon waterways and abandoning more than 900 toxic waste pits that are still leaching toxic sludge into soils and groundwater, according to scientific evidence in the case.

Kantor was quoted saying that the damages amount "doesn't make any logical sense" even though he offered no reason for the conclusion. Yet Anderson explained the damages assessment ordered by the court - contained in a 4,000-page report prepared by 15 technical experts -- is consistent with other large environmental clean-ups around the world, a fact confirmed by several independent scientists.

The damages report found 1,401 excess cancer deaths in the region due to oil-related contamination.

"I would bet Mickey Kantor has never been to Ecuador to see the damage caused by Chevron," said Anderson. "He's probably never talked to the victims, never read the expert report, and never seen the cancer mortality data.

"His work for Chevron is an example of Washington's broken system of lobbying," added Anderson.

Chevron failed in similar efforts to end Ecuador's trade preferences in 2006 and 2008. In 2006, then Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to the USTR USTR United States Trade Representative
USTR United States Transuranium Registry (Richmond, Washington)
USTR Underground Storage Tank Regulation
 requesting that the agency not intervene because the plaintiffs "deserved their day in court".

Chevron hopes the threat of cutting trade benefits will pressure Ecuador's President Rafael Correa to scuttle the lawsuit even though he is prohibited by law from intervening in private legal matters. Ecuador stands to lose 350,000 jobs if the trade benefits are canceled, according to the government.

About the Amazon Defense Coalition

The Amazon Defense Coalition represents dozens of rainforest communities and five indigenous groups that inhabit Ecuador's Northern Amazon region. The mission of the Coalition is to protect the environment and secure social justice through grass roots organizing, political advocacy, and litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.

When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation.
.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 27, 2009
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