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International Update Volume 44, Issue 10

CANADA SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR CHEVRON IN MULTIBILLION DOLLAR ECUADOR LAWSUIT

Ecuador

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) agreed to hear an appeal by Chevron Corp of a lower court’s decision that would allow Ecuadorean villagers to pursue a $9.51 billion lawsuit in Ontario. The SCC’s decision to hear the case is the latest episode in a drawn-out conflict between Chevron and villagers of Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region in the Amazon. In November, Ecuador’s National Court of Justice upheld a 2011 verdict that held that Chevron was responsible for pollution in the Amazon rainforest caused by Texaco, an oil firm that was absorbed by Chevron.

COURT RULING CAUSES JAPAN TO CANCEL WHALE HUNT

Japan

Japan has cancelled an upcoming whale hunt in response to an International Court of Justice ruling that banned the country’s annual Antarctic whaling drive. Commercial whaling was prohibited in 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt the animals for years, ostensibly in order to gather scientific data. The recent ruling, handed down last Monday, rejected the nation’s claim that expeditions were for research purposes in a decision that amounts to a long-sought victory for environmentalists.

SPANISH GOVERNMENT GETS BEHIND FRACKING

Spain

Spain’s national government has opened the door to fracking even while regional and local authorities maintain opposition to oil and gas development. With a hurting economy and an unemployment rate of 26%, the government hopes to lessen what consumers pay for heating fuel—which currently stands at about triple the U.S. price. Over the past few months, the People’s Party-led government has changed a law in an effort to foster shale exploration and has sought to wrest control over land use from anti-fracking regional authorities.