Shell Sues Greens Over Arctic Drilling
Preemptive lawsuit seeks to avoid challenges to cleanup plan
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2012 2:01 AM CST
Actress Lucy Lawless, left, joins activists in stopping a Shell-contracted drillship from departing the port of Taranaki, New Zealand.   (AP Photo/Greenpeace, Nigel Marple)

(Newser) – Lawyers for Shell filed suit against more than a dozen environmental groups yesterday over Arctic drilling. The suit, an unusual preemptive legal strike, seeks to head off future lawsuits by having a federal court declare that Shell's Arctic oil spill response plan for upcoming drilling complies with the law, the Los Angeles Times reports. Shell has already spent $4 billion on the Chukchi Sea project without drilling a single well.

A lawyer for Oceana, one of the groups named in the lawsuit, says his organization has already filed a challenge to Shell's plan. "We don’t think they’ve adequately met the requirements of the law,” he says. “This cleanup plan, just like their previous cleanup plans, is woefully inadequate, based on technology that has never been proven, and continues to be too risky for the Arctic environment." Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless was arrested earlier this week after joining a Greenpeace protest aboard a Shell-contracted drillship bound for the Arctic.