Human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, stands to rake in millions from her seemingly selfless defense of the oil-drilled rain forest in Ecuador. An Ecuadorean appeals court recently upheld a ruling that Chevron Corporation, the U.S. oil giant, should pay $18 billion in damages (which the company is now appealing) to plaintiffs who accused the company of inflicting environmental damage on the Amazon jungle — in what Kennedy called "the biggest corporate environmental disaster on the face of the Earth."
Kennedy has virulently opposed oil production in "environmentally-sensitive" areas, as she has lobbied officials and penned a series of opinion pieces to signify her outrage over the environmental damage that Chevron has purportedly committed near the town of Lago Agrio, where 1,700 square miles of rain forest has allegedly been decimated. Kennedy expressed her discontent in a November 2009 article for the Huffington Post:
Traces of paradise are still visible. From the air, the rainforest region in northern Ecuador — known as the Oriente — appears as silvery mist and swaths of verdant green.
But beneath the cloud cover and canopy, the jungle is a tangle of oil slicks, festering sludge, and rusted pipeline. Smokestacks sprout from the ground, spewing throat-burning fumes into the air. Wastewater from unlined pits seeps into the groundwater and flows into the rivers and streams.
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