A third straight quarter of obscene profits shows once again just how greedy and morally bankrupt Chevron’s decision not to take responsibility for its environmental and human rights crisis in Ecuador really is. The company certainly isn’t refusing to clean up its mess because it can’t afford to do so.
Last year Chevron made over $19 billion, which you may notice is more than the $18 billion it has been ordered to pay by an Ecuadorean court that found Chevron guilty of deliberately dumping a massive amount of oil pollution in the Amazon. The company could pay for the cleanup out of last year’s profits alone, and still have a BILLION dollars left over.
And now Chevron has already made more than it did in all of last year in the first three quarters of 2011. The company just announced third quarter profits of $7.8 billion, more than twice what it made in the third quarter of 2010. In the first and second quarter of this year, Chevron made $6.2 billion and $7.7 billion, respectively. Given that in those three quarters alone Chevron has already made $21.7 billion – almost $3 billion more than it did in all of last year – I don’t need to tell you that profits have been up every quarter of 2011.
Where have these obscene profits been coming from? It’s not because Chevron is working harder. Production has actually been down all year.
Chevron and the other Big Oil companies are raking it in thanks to high oil and gas prices. Oil apologists will tell you that the companies don’t set gas prices – it just laughs all the way to the bank while we face increasing pain at the pump. Well, fine, even if we’re willing to let Chevron off the hook when it hides behind “the free market” to explain its exorbitant income, no one can dispute that the company chooses where to spend its extra money.
Chevron has spent millions lobbying the US and the Ecuadorean governments to get out of its obligation to clean up the Amazon. It has spent millions more on the ridiculous “We Agree” greenwash campaign in a failed attempt to convince the public that it actually cares about communities and the environment. It pays executives like CEO John Watson huge salaries. It spent nearly 20% of its profits on stock buybacks, which does little more than enrich shareholders.
While the company likes to argue that it re-invests its billions in the communities where it operates, the LA Times has deflated that bogus talking point pretty thoroughly. The bottom line is that if Chevron really cared about anything but money it would have cleaned up its mess in Ecuador – and countless other communities around the world that have also suffered from a Chevron “investment” – a long time ago.