In 1972, the American oil company Texaco, now known as Chevron, extracted its first barrel of crude oil from Amazonian Ecuador. By the time it pulled out of the region some twenty years later, Texaco had extracted oil from at least three hundred wells and left behind nearly sixteen million gallons of spilled oil and more than eighteen million gallons of toxic waste.
Ecuadorian lawyer and activist Pablo Fajardo gives this first-hand account of Texaco's involvement in the Amazon, as well as the ensuing legal battles between the oil company, the Ecuadorian government, and the region's inhabitants. As a teenager, Fajardo worked in the Amazonian oil fields, where he witnessed the consequences of Texaco/Chevron's extraction work there-the pools of waste that polluted the land and waterways, contaminated food sources, and caused cancers, birth defects, and deaths. Fajardo mobilized with his peers to seek reparations and studied to become a lawyer. In time, he became the lead counsel for the UDAPT (Union of People Affected by Texaco), a group of more than thirty thousand small farmers and indigenous people from the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon who continue to fight for reparation and remediation to this day.
Crude brings to light one of the least understood and most important cases of environmental and racial injustice of our time.