We take the government to court over oil drilling

Posted by jamess — 12 November 2010 at 2:07pm - Comments

We've taken the government to the High Court in a bid to stop offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Our lawyers filed a claim at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning seeking to stop the issuing of new licences for deep sea drilling until the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion have been properly established.

This legal challenge - if successful - will affect over 20 oil production licences and could halt future licensing rounds. Our lawyers argue that these licences are close to environmentally sensitive sites which support species like whales and dolphins that are legally protected. In the wake of the recent BP disaster, the government can't be certain that drilling in these areas won't result in environmental damage, so should not be handing out licences until a proper assessment, required by law, has been carried out.

Just a few weeks ago, Chevron admitted that drilling in the deep waters off Shetland could cause a spill worse than the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

This High Court battle is almost certain to ring alarm bells throughout the oil industry. We've got a strong record in this area and won a similar case on oil production licences in 1999. We've also been successful in legal challenges on nuclear power and the third runway at Heathrow.

In the past few months we've been up in the Arctic stopping Cairn's drilling and off the Shetland stopping Chevron's drill ship. This legal challenge against the government is the latest stage in our campaign to Go Beyond Oil.

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