Oil giant Shell sues Greenpeace for £1.7m damages over fossil fuel protest

Greenpeace has made clear that it intends to contest the action and says that Shell is trying to silence them.

Oil giant Shell has decided to sue Greenpeace for £1.7million, in what the environmental group says is one of the “biggest legal threats” in its history.

Shell is taking the legal action against Greenpeace after environmental protesters occupied a moving oil platform earlier this year, which Shell says resulted in significant legal costs to the company as it tried to secure two court injunctions to prevent further boarding as well as mobilising an extra safety vessel, and increasing security at the port.

Four Greenpeace protesters boarded the platform just north of the Canary Islands, while it was being transported to the Shetland Islands, with signs demanding that the fossil fuel company “stop drilling – start paying”.

Greenpeace wants Shell to stop drilling for new oil and gas, and start paying up for causing decades of climate damage.

Shell says it is entitled to recover “the significant costs of responding to Greenpeace’s dangerous actions”, with the lawsuit calling for an indefinite block on all protests at Shell infrastructure at sea or in port anywhere in the world.

Greenpeace has made clear that it intends to contest the action and says that Shell is trying to silence them. It said in a statement: “Shell is trying to silence us. They’re demanding we stop protesting at any of their facilities at sea or in port, anywhere in the world, ever again, or otherwise face an $8.6m damages claim and a wide-ranging injunction to limit our right to protest.

“Our protest was peaceful, safe and carefully planned. We caused no damage. It’s Shell who must pay for the climate devastation they’re causing globally, all to chase profit.”

The environmental group went on to add: “For more than 50 years, Greenpeace has campaigned to defend people and our natural world from extractive and destructive forces like Shell.

“But these aggressive legal tactics, the huge sums of money and attempts to block the right to protest pose a massive threat. It could stop Greenpeace being able to make a real difference on the things that matter most.

“This is even bigger than Greenpeace too.”

You can donate to fund Greenpeace’s legal fight here.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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