NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York has refused, for now, to halt collection of an $18 billion court judgment against the energy giant Chevron for environmental damage in an Ecuadorean rain forest.

Courts in Ecuador have ordered Chevron to pay the steep penalty for pollution that occurred when Texaco was operating in the forest, between 1972 and 1990. Texaco became a Chevron subsidiary in 2001.

The company has argued that the court action in Ecuador was a fraud, and wants a U.S. court to block collection.

Judge Lewis Kaplan on Friday said it was too early for him to intervene.

Chevron said in a statement that it was clear that the judge left the door open to rule differently in the future.

Do you agree with the judge? Sound off in our comments section below…

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