Bloomberg News

Greenpeace, Audubon Sue to Block Shell Alaska Spill Plan

July 10, 2012

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) should be barred from drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea and the Gulf of Mexico because its oil-spill plans are inadequate, Greenpeace Inc. and other environmental groups said in a lawsuit.

The groups sued the U.S. Interior Department, which approved Shell’s spill-response plans earlier this year, saying the agency violated the Clean Water Act by failing to ensure the plans can address a “worst case oil spill.”

The approvals for Shell’s response plans for the Gulf of Mexico’s Chukchi Sea and Alaska’s Beaufort Sea should be thrown out, and offshore oil and gas activity blocked, until the Interior Department complies with the law, the groups said in a complaint filed today in federal court in Alaska. The filing couldn’t be confirmed in electronic court records.

Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Shell, said the company is confident the approved spill plans “will withstand legal review.”

“If regulators did not have confidence in every aspect of our oil spill response plans, we would not have the permits that we do and we would not be as close to drilling as we are,” he said.

Adam Fetcher, an Interior Department spokesman, declined to comment on the lawsuit. A call to Shell’s media line wasn’t immediately returned.

The case is Alaska Wilderness League v. Salazar, U.S. District Court, District of Alaska.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fred Strasser at

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