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Judge at heart of landmark pollution case unfazed by spotlight

LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador -- Sitting in a dimly lit office with blue paint peeling off the walls, Judge Nicolas Zambrano is remarkably relaxed for a man responsible for the biggest environmental damage ruling in history. In February, Zambrano ordered Chevron Corp. to pay up to $18 billion for oil pollution in the region around this hard-edged frontier town on the fringe of the Amazon jungle. Only the tab likely to be faced by BP PLC over the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to be bigger.

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