Brazil Issues Criminal Charges Against Chevron

SAN RAMON, CA–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2012.  Today Rainforest Action Network activists traveled to Chevron’s headquarters in San Ramon to issue an arrest warrant for Chevron CEO John Watson for international environmental and human rights crimes. The action came the day that Brazilian prosecutors filed criminal charges against Chevron executives after the company’s drilling operations caused an offshore oil spill that dumped thousands of gallons of oil into a fragile marine ecosystem. Brazilian officials have levied fines of $11 billion and barred 17 Chevron and Transocean executives from leaving the country earlier this week.

“Chevron is known as a corporate criminal around the world and today they are being charged by Brazil,” said Ginger Cassady, campaign director for Rainforest Action Network. “While Brazil issued criminal charges against executives for Chevron, we know the real culprit is John Watson, the company’s Chairman and CEO. Watson is responsible for Chevron’s human rights and environmental policies, which have led to multiple environmental and human rights abuses around the world.”

The giant arrest warrant, posted at the gate to Chevron Headquarters, charges Chairman Watson with the following crimes:

  • Gross negligence leading to the offshore oil spill in Brazil.
  • Deliberately contaminating the Ecuadorian Amazon with billions of gallons of toxic oil waste.
  • Death of workers in Nigeria due to disastrous natural gas explosion.

“The shocking arrogance and disregard for human rights and environmental protections represents a pattern in John Watson’s handling of issues where the company operates.” Cassady continued. “Chevron’s investors are aware of John Watson’s lack of disclosure on their current liabilities. A shareholder resolution has been filed this year proposing the removal of Watson as Chairman of the Board, for his irresponsible handling of the case in Ecuador.”

RAN works with Indigenous communities from the Ecuadorian Amazon to advocate for the remediation of rainforests polluted by Chevron oil extraction operations. Last year Ecuador issued an unprecedented ruling against Chevron for intentionally dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste and then covering up the mess. The company continues to deny responsibility and refuses to pay for clean up efforts.

“People everywhere should have the right to clean drinking water and healthy ecosystems,” concluded Cassady. “ Chevron and John Watson take away basic human rights when they refuse to clean up the messes that they create to maximize their profits.”


Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: