Photo: Florian Schulz
Shell Oil has filed suit agains Conservation Alliance grantees Alaska Wilderness League and National Audubon Society and several other conservation organizations that have raised concerns about the oil company's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The defendants are scratching their heads trying to understand the logic behind the suit.
"What are they trying to do, get the courts to declare something legal that hasn’t been challenged as illegal? It seems premature, and potentially unnecessary," said Whit Sheard, senior advisor to Oceana.
Apparently, Shell is worried that the conservation groups will sue over the company's oil spill response plan, but will do so just before the window opens for drilling this summer. An injunction in such a suit could delay any drilling until 2013. So Shell is trying to get the courts to declare the response plan legal before any opposition formally challenges it in court.
Cindy Shogan, Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League had this to say:
“In a true-life David vs. Goliath parable, Royal Dutch Shell, a foreign company that makes millions
of dollars in profits per hour, is forcing Alaska Wilderness League, a grassroots-based nonprofit with the sole purpose of advocating for Alaska’s lands, waters and native people, into court – and seeking fees and costs against us. I suppose if you're like Shell, and you have billions of dollars to throw around, you can engage in this desperate ploy, instead of proving on the ground that you can actually clean up an oil spill in Arctic conditions.
"My response to Shell is this: Alaska Wilderness League will not be bullied. We will take the time we
need to evaluate whether Shell’s oil spill response plan, for the most aggressive course of Arctic
Ocean drilling ever proposed in history, meets the letter of the law. We owe that much to the
Inupiat people who have thrived on Alaska’s Arctic coast for thousands of years, and the
extraordinary Arctic ecosystem that is among the most vital in the world.”