HIGHTOWER: Rainforest Natives Sue Mighty Texaco

Even the jaded residents of the Big Apple had to stop and gawk at this sight: a group of Amazon tribal leaders in native dress striding down the sidewalks of lower Manhattan.The leaders had come from deep within the Ecuadorian rainforest and were headed to the U.S. Courthouse seeking a measure of justice: "We demand that Texaco come back and clean up the damage it caused," one of them said. He was referring to Texaco's horrific contamination of his homeland by reckless and illegal oil drilling practices.For 20 years, the oil giant pumped billions-of-dollars worth of crude from there. But rather than reinjecting the toxic wastes that come up with the oil, however, Texaco simply poured them out on the land and into the waterways. This stuff is loaded with benzene, toluene, and other deadly poisons -- and the corporation was dumping some 10 million gallons of it every day. By contrast, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska totaled about 480 million gallons -- 48 days' worth of the discharge that Texaco poured into this rain forest 365 days a year ... for 20 years.Texaco executives took the oil (and the profits) leaving people with their oily, toxic mess, which has now spread and so saturated this region that families can't drink the water and have to keep buckets of gasoline at their doorways to clean-off after they've been outside.The oil executives did this simply because it saved them more money. Plus they thought they could get away with it, since no one was watching, except the tribal people -- and what could they do to mighty Texaco?This is Jim Hightower saying ... Sue the SOB's for a billion bucks that's what! They've sued Texaco in New York because, as they put it, this is where the executives sat high-up in their corporate suites and coldly made decisions to poison a whole rain forest and thousands of people. To learn more about this historic suit, call 617-338-4080.

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