Most Significant Flaws in the Cabrera Report
A key report submitted to a court hearing by Richard Cabrera contains fabricated and erroneous evidence. Details regarding 12 significant flaws found in the report are outlined below.
Lack of Causation
Cabrera completely ignored his court-ordered mandate to determine causation and chronology of environmental conditions. Instead, he just arbitrarily assigned liability to Texaco for every instance of alleged environmental impact in the former concession areas. By ignoring chronology and causation, Cabrera even makes Texpet liable for environmental impact caused solely by Petroecuador during its 18-plus years operating the concession fields.
Failure to Inspect and Falsifying 'Evidence'
Cabrera ignored court orders that he must inspect every site, visiting only 48 of 316 wells and one of 19 production stations. Instead, Cabrera reviewed aerial photos to identify pits and used those photos incompetently and dishonestly. For example, Cabrera submitted certain aerial photos with his report and declared that various items in the photos — like trees, tanks and shadows — were pits. He also submitted photos of pits constructed by Petroecuador after 1990, backdated the photos to the 1970s and declared that the pits were constructed earlier by Texpet. Cabrera, therefore, fraudulently overstated the number of pits.
Arbitrary Determination of Remediation Scope
With no justification, Cabrera arbitrarily concluded that 80 percent of well pits and 100 percent of production station pits need to be remediated, regardless of past or current remediation efforts. Cabrera then further fabricated and overstated the magnitude of remediation required for each pit, arbitrarily assuming that each pit needs to be remediated to a depth of four meters (13.12 ft) and that an additional area around each pit equal to 50 percent of the pit surface area also needs to be remediated.
Gross Overstatement of Remediation Cost
Cabrera grossly overstated the cost to remediate pits. Though Petroecuador has been remediating pits to Ecuador standards for approximately $85,000 per pit, Cabrera recommends remediation costs of $1.7 billion — more than $2.2 million for each of the pits Cabrera claims.
90 Percent of Damages Unrelated to Task
Even though Cabrera's recommended remediation cost of $1.7 billion is wildly overstated, that figure is only approximately 10 percent of the total damages he recommends. The remainder of Cabrera's alleged damages and proposed remedies are unrelated to the environmental impact that the court ordered him to assess.
Fabricated Cancer Claims
Cabrera's recommendation of $2.9 billion for alleged "excess cancer deaths" is completely fabricated. Cabrera does not identify a single individual, offer a single medical report, or provide a single fact to support this conclusion. Cabrera also disregards official Ecuador health statistics showing that the cancer rate in the former concession area is no different from that of other regions. His recommendation is based entirely on biased surveys, conducted in secret by unknown individuals, the results of which he improperly extrapolated over an assumed population.
Excessive Budgets for Medical Facilities
Cabrera's recommendation for $480 million for a healthcare system endowed for 50 years and overseen by an unidentified "assembly" has no basis, and there are no plans or facts justifying any aspects of the cost.
Unjustified and Exaggerated Potable Water Cost
Cabrera did not identify any contaminated water supply, yet he recommended a completely arbitrary amount of $428 million to establish potable water facilities.
No Basis for 'Indigenous Population Impacts'
Cabrera inexplicably recommends $430 million to repair supposed impacts on indigenous culture, for communities that are not identified. This includes buying back land for the indigenous people, even though the Government of Ecuador gave this land to settlers for the express purpose of establishing communities and agriculture in the region.
Unfounded Claim for Ecosystem Losses
Cabrera improperly assesses between $875 million and $1.7 billion for "ecosystem losses" simply because Texpet constructed facilities or roads on a small fraction of the entire concession area. Cabrera makes this claim even though the facilities and roads were legally established — and in some instances mandated by the government — and were necessary to develop Ecuador's oil resources. The dollar amounts that Cabrera seeks are completely arbitrary as well.
Unjustified Assessment to Improve Petroecuador's Infrastructure
Cabrera inexplicably recommends $375 million to improve Petroecuador's infrastructure, despite that Petroecuador conducted an audit and certified that the facilities that Texpet turned over to it were in good condition. Cabrera also ignores Petroecuador's demonstrated and acknowledged record of failing to invest necessary resources to maintain its equipment and facilities.
No Basis Whatsoever for Unjust Enrichment
Cabrera completely fabricated a claim for unjust enrichment damages of $8.3 billion. There is no basis for the claim and no foundation for the number, especially considering that the Republic of Ecuador enjoyed 95 percent of the profits from the concession's operations and that Texpet earned only $490 million in profits over the entire history of the concession.