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Judge Nicolás Zambrano of the Corte Provincial de Justicia in Sucumbíos, Ecuador, handed down a historic ruling ordering oil giant Chevron-Texaco to pay US$9.5 billion for environmental damages incurred during 28 years of oil exploitation during which the company used obsolete technology and deliberately released more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the northern Amazon region of Ecuador. Sucumbíos province has a long history of plundering of its natural resources, beginning in the 1940s with the exploitation of rubber and lumber. But it was oil, discovered in the early 1970s, that caused the greatest devastation in the region. This happened with the blessing of the national governments at the time, which never promoted the region's development even though oil came to account for 56% of national income