Shanghai: Two environmental agencies have filed a lawsuit against oil companies ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) over an oil spill that polluted a huge area of Bohai Bay in northeast China in June 2011.
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation filed the suit in the maritime court in Qingdao, Shandong province, China Daily reports.
The two organisations are not suing for compensation, but rather are calling for ConocoPhillips and CNOOC to “accept responsibility” for the damage caused by the spill from the Penglai 19-3 field, which polluted more than 6,200 square km of water. Four years later, remedial work has not yet begun, the agencies say.
The suit will be the first public-interest litigation brought by a non-profit organisation over marine environmental pollution to be accepted by a court in China.
The country enacted a new environmental protection law on January 1, which allows any environmental organisation that has been operating for at least five years and is registered with a civil affairs bureau to bring public interest litigation.
ConocoPhillips and CNOOC have already paid about RMB1.7bn ($274m) in compensation for the spill to the State Oceanic Administration, which oversees maritime affairs.