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Protesters at Chevron Shareholder Meeting Galvanized by 'Reckless Business Practices'

Common Dreams staff

Protesters outside of Chevron meeting (Photo: Rainforest Action Network / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Yesterday, over 150 protesters clogged the entrance to oil giant Chevron's yearly shareholder meeting to draw attention to a year of 'legal problems, oil spills and fines for reckless business practices' in Ecuador, Brazil, Nigeria and around the world.

The protest, outside of Chevron's headquarters in San Ramon Calif., saw the largest number of protesters outside of a Chevron meeting. Environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said that people have become increasingly galvanized in the fight against Chevron as the company continues to avoid taking responsibility for catastrophe's around the world.

Chevron is currently fighting against more than $43 billion in actual and potential fines: $22 billion for oil spills off the coast of Brazil, $18 billion for oil contamination in Ecuador, $3 million for gas explosions off the coast of Nigeria, and $27 million for tax-dodging in Richmond, according to RAN.

“CEO Watson’s fraudulent omission of the current liabilities the company is facing in Brazil, Ecuador and Nigeria once again highlights his gross negligence when it comes to worker safety, environmental health and human rights. This was reflected in the record high votes for the resolution calling for Watson to be removed as chair of the board,” said Ginger Cassady, Change Chevron Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network.

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KGO-TV San Francisco: Int'l coalition protests Chevron shareholders' meeting

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Rainforest Action Network: Chevron Faces Shareholder, Union and Community Revolt at Annual Meeting

Today, more than 150 protested at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting, joining together a unique group of union members, shareholders and community leaders. Every year, Chevron faces opposition at its shareholder meeting, but today’s protest drew a larger and more diverse crowd galvanized by the oil giant’s year of legal problems, oil spills and fines for reckless business practices. [...]

The United Federation of Oil Workers filed suit in March to demand the cancellation of all Chevron oil and gas concession contracts in Brazil. Two representatives with the United Steelworkers were also blocked from entering the meeting.

Seven shareholder resolutions were presented to address Chevron’s risky operations, including a call for the separation of CEO and chairman that received 38 percent of the vote (double its received in previous years). New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli joined with 39 other investors, with a combined total of $580 billion in assets under management, called on Chevron to settle its two-decade-long legal battle in Ecuador.

“Chevron needs to put its pants on, start acting like a grown up and accept responsibility for its mess in Ecuador,” Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua, plaintiff in the Ecuador case, said to CEO Watson.

The protest included representatives of the United Steelworkers, including workers at Chevron’s Richmond refinery; the lead plaintiffs in the Ecuador case; leaders from Nigeria and Angola; local advocates from Richmond; and members of the True Cost of Chevron Network.

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