Forums of Dispute
The Texas Supreme Court:
The case made it all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, where plaintiffs argued that toxins and contaminants from the oil pits were seeping into the groundwater, and thus into their water supply, exceeding regulatory levels. They cited such chemicals as the cause of their many and disproportionate illnesses (lupus and cancer predominantly).
The EPA conducted two series of tests on the site - first after the suspected problems encountered during the water pipeline excavation project, and second, when the people of Kennedy Heights brought their suit to court. Their tests for surface methane and petroleum hydrocarbons were conflicting with those of the Chevron Corporation and of Exploration Technologies, Inc, the consulting firm hired by the residents.
Kennedy Heights, Houston, Texas: The Kennedy Heights Civic Association (KHCA):
An association of the residents of Kennedy Heights, headed by John Simmons. With the association, he surveyed the people living in the Kennedy Heights neighborhood, finding outrageously high rates of lupus and cancer. His study encouraged the people to file a suit against Chevron.
PBS, the New York Times, and CNN all covered the Houston v. Chevron case. PBS was the most sympathetic, portraying the case as a clear example of environmental injustice. The New York Times was more neutral but still leaned toward the Kennedy Heights citizens' plight, while CNN took a very neutral approach to reporting on the case.
WHAT: To find out more about what exactly happened to start the conflict, how the case was carried out, and how it was resolved, click here.
WHO: To read about the parties and people involved in the case, click here.
WHERE: To find out about the places and forums in which the case took place, click here.
HOW: To read about the resolution and solutions for the case, click here.
RELATED COURSES: To see what Colby courses may relate to this case study, click here.
SOURCES: To access government documents and news articles concerning the case, click here.