Groups opposing Arctic drilling petition SEC to investigate Shell’s regulatory filings

Washington: Opponents of Shell’s planned return to Arctic oil exploration petitioned the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday to investigate the energy giant’s regulatory filings.

Ocean conservation group Oceana and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School were the petitioners.

Their hope is that alleged misstatements by the company will reveal that Shell knowingly downplayed environmental risks and overstated its ability to handle any such eventualities in an Arctic context.

Oceana and the Abrams Clinic sent a report to the SEC detailing their concerns

Shell is ever closer to returning to offshore drilling in the Arctic after a three-year absence. It has a lease to explore in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska.

Publicly traded companies are required to disclose financial risks in detail, and the petitioners’ report claims that the Arctic environment makes cleaning up a spill so difficult that Shell faces multibillion-dollar risks. The idea is to make the company respond and, they hope, acknowledge the risks for investors.

Another front of protest occurred in Seattle at the weekend when big crowds turned out for the “Shell No” rally. Seattle is the planned mooring port for Shell’s Arctic fleet, though legal actions are still in the works to challenge that as well. Seattle will be the scene for a proposed three-day “Festival of Resistance” against Shell next month.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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