Greenpeace Denied Access to Shell's Arctic Ops

A federal judge in Alaska has granted a preliminary injunction against Greenpeace USA which will remain in place until October 31st 2012, the end of Shell Oil's 'drilling window' in Alaska. The injunction follows a temporary restraining order which expired on March 28th.

The injunction was granted despite clear evidence that a 'direct action' against one of Shell's rigs in New Zealand was carried out by an entirely separate legal entity, Greenpeace New Zealand. Greenpeace USA is now banned from entering a .62 mile (1 kilometer) 'safety zone' around Shell's two main drilling vessels.

A 1,640 feet (500 meter) safety zone (3,281 feet or 1000 meters during towing) is also in place for support vessels and other equipment. These safety zones will be reduced to 100 meters for vessels transiting through narrow channels.

The restrictions apply to Shell's vessels while they are in US territorial waters (up to 12 miles from shore). The judge is still considering extending this to include the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) 200 miles offshore.

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace Deputy Campaign Director Dan Howells said, "When an oil company with billions of dollars employs an army of lawyers to undermine your right to peaceful protest and free speech, then you know you're doing something right. Since Greenpeace New Zealand launched this campaign over 300,000 people have written to Shell telling them that Arctic drilling is one of the great mistakes of our age, and the company has resorted to legal bullying because they're scared of public opinion."

"Greenpeace is just one part of a growing movement which will continue to oppose Arctic drilling peacefully and vigorously this year and in the future. This desperate drilling program will do nothing to bring down gas prices in the US, but everything to endanger America's last true wilderness and play havoc with our climate. It's time we start protecting the best interests of the 99 percent instead of a handful of corporate executives pursuing the next billion dollars in profit."

In support of its complaint, Shell referred to an activity over 6,000 miles from Alaska in which activists from Greenpeace New Zealand joined the actor Lucy Lawless to stop a Shell drillship from leaving for the Arctic.

The injunction 'enjoins', or bans, Greenpeace or anyone acting 'in concert' from a number of activities. Breaching the order could result in fines and jail time on top of the possible penalties that already exist for these offenses.

These activities include:

  • Breaking into or trespassing on the vessels
  • Tortiously or illegally interfering with the operation, movement or progress of the vessels
  • Barricading, blocking or preventing access to or egress from the vessels
  • Tortiously or illegally endangering or threatening any employee, contractor or visitor of Shell or any of its affiliates who is present on, or as they enter or exit the vessels.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Ernie Arrenegado | Apr. 5, 2012
Greenpeace and Al Gore take a day off and really think about it and not your large bank books. Because you say Oil Companies but your bank accounts are large on just pure bull and no facts.

HoustonOilMan | Apr. 2, 2012
I find it hilarious Greenpeace would accuse Shell of bullying with their lawyers since they (along with other NGOs) have sued both Shell and the government on the first day of the last 7 drilling seasons, knowing it would eat up the whole drilling season in court. Their actions have cost Shell and the government millions of dollars that could have been used to reduce our deficit and create jobs. Way to look out for us all, Greenpeace.

boby b | Apr. 2, 2012
Imagine a world without any petroleum-based fuels. No coal. No wood. No natural gas or propane. No fertilizers. No motorized transport. No plastics. I live in a cold part of the world, and Im imagining it right now, and Im imagining our new life in which maybe one or two of your five kids lives past the age of one, in which we go back to spending all of our awake time hunting for our next family meal, all day, every day. And not finding it all of the time. Thats exactly the world Greenpeace and Friends is trying to bring back to us. The air would be clean, the water fresh, thered be no oil pipelines ruining their views, and almost all of us would be dead. (Check them out; they really do want to drastically lower the human population. It would make Gaia happy!) These are deluded people. Yeah, we should keep things clean, and hold peoples feet to the fire if theyre polluting. But these radical enviros make it sound like were getting more and more poisoned every year, and were about to hit some crisis point, but theyre lying about that. If you look at actual figures, our environment has been getting better and better. Its the cleanest its been in a century or more. Were more important than fish. Thats really my bottom line.

West Houston Geo | Apr. 2, 2012
It is about time the majors stood up to the green terrorists! These screaming hatemongers keep talking about "a handful of corporate executives" when they are actually trying to hurt common stockholders including most anyone with an IRA invested in mutual funds. The stockholders OWN the corporation. The executives either show a profit for the stockholders or they hit the bricks and tell their story walking! Greenpeace* is a bunch of elitist, naive, freeloading, crybaby, hypocritical snobs who want to destroy my livelihood and yours! *Normally, I would not capitalize greenpeace out of disrespect. However, this one comes at the beginning of the sentence. I respect Sentence Structure.

West Houston Geo | Apr. 2, 2012
It is about time the majors stood up to the green terrorists! These screaming hatemongers keep talking about "a handful of corporate executives" when they are actually trying to hurt common stockholders including most anyone with an IRA invested in mutual funds. The stockholders OWN the corporation. The executives either show a profit for the stockholders or they hit the bricks and tell their story walking! Greenpeace* is a bunch of elitist, naive, freeloading, crybaby, hypocritical snobs who want to destroy my livelihood and yours! *Normally, I would not capitalize greenpeace out of disrespect. However, this one comes at the beginning of the sentence. I respect Sentence Structure.

Sue | Apr. 2, 2012
Greenpeace no longer enjoys charity status in Canada and many other countries because they are a partisan political fundraising machine not a charitable organization. Their upper management are just getting richer and richer, while playing the enviro card at every turn.

stan | Apr. 2, 2012
Its about time.

spike1 | Apr. 1, 2012
I believe that Greenpiece gets funding for this escapade the same place as the anti XL pipeline people do,Saudi Arabia and the rest of the middle east oil producers.They have the most to lose from Arctic drilling.

RG | Apr. 1, 2012
Since when are unaccountable, unelected groups like Greenpeace engaging in peaceful free speech? They are the same as mafia protection racketeers. They're nothing more than cheap thugs. THEY are the ones who are acting like bullies here. I think companies like Shell and their contractors, who are affected by these "protestors" need to start worrying less about negative PR, which doesnt get them anywhere anyway, and have the laws enforced against them to the fullest extent. Criminal trespass, vandalism, endangerment, the lot. Maybe that would finally give thugs like Greenpeace something to worry about, and realise their actions will have serious consequences for them, which they currently dont. Better yet, lets kill two birds with one stone. We should hire Somalian pirates to give Greenpeace a taste of their own medicine and see how they like it? Let the Somalis keep whatever they find on the the trust fund hippies yachts. At least then, theyll be providing a valuable public service, and we, the actual 99% schmucks, can go about our legitimate business without being harassed. Win-win!

Arty | Apr. 1, 2012
Remember when Saddam dumped millions of gallons of crude into the Persian Gulf and lit all those oilwell on fire? Greenpeace had to put out the fires and clean up the mess and after that they condemned him for wanton destruction of the environment. OK, that last part isnt true. Greenpeace had nothing to do with the cleanup or putting out the fires. That was handled by the US military and oil companies. Even the part about condemning Saddam isnt true. Thats because Greenpeace doesnt go anywhere thats unsafe for them. They only make life hard for nice people. Theyre cowards.

Yukonmike | Mar. 30, 2012
So they are saying that 99% dont want drilling where did they get that from?? What does greenpeace use for fuel??

Scott middleton | Mar. 30, 2012
Grean peace does not represent the 99 percent as I am part of the 99 percent. When are people going to get sick of these enviromental lies. These are rich people who dont have to make a honest living and feed there family. The 99 percent need job not lies. We need to drill the Artic for our nation and we can do it resposibly, Green piece is a bunch ocriminal who say the are representing us but they only represent them selfs.


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