“Today’s decision means we will have our day in court on unlawful Shell decisions that left Providence families and all of Narragansett Bay at imminent risk of catastrophic oil and toxic chemical spills,” CLF President Bradley Campbell said in a statement. “The company has for years deceived regulators and the public about the global and local risks of the climate crisis.”
“Today’s decision means we will have our day in court on unlawful Shell decisions that left Providence families and all of Narragansett Bay at imminent risk of catastrophic oil and toxic chemical spills,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “The company has for years deceived regulators and the public about the global and local risks of the climate crisis. CLF will now have the opportunity to hold Shell accountable for years of neglect and outright deceit at the expense of this public safety.”
The impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Laura on oil and chemical facilities in Texas and Louisiana were foreseeable. Yet, Big Oil giants like ExxonMobil and Shell have left their facilities there vulnerable – and now the surrounding communities are paying a terrible, long-term price. It is difficult to grapple with such a massive corporate failure. We can’t risk the same happening here in New England.
“Climate change is real. The impacts of climate change are actionable,” Chris Kilian, a lawyer for the foundation, said at a hearing in the case on Thursday. “Climate change is already having documented and major impacts in Rhode Island and, more specifically, has been identified as a present and increasing threat in the Port of Providence.”
“Big oil has known about the risks of the climate crisis for decades, and their silence and inaction speak volumes,” said Brad Campbell, President of CLF. “The communities surrounding these terminals are constantly at risk of being inundated with a stew of oil and toxic materials. It’s long past time for these companies to step up and prepare their facilities for flooding and extreme weather. The courts must hold them accountable under current law to avoid catastrophe.”
Shell Oil is putting Providence and the iconic Narragansett Bay at risk.
Extreme weather caused by climate change may damage coastal infrastructure by degrading equipment containing hazardous chemicals or by flooding storage facilities. But fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Shell would rather take their chances and do nothing to ready their facilities. CLF knows, however, that these companies have a legal duty (not to mention an ethical one) to adapt their facilities to the foreseeable effects of climate change.
“The Shell terminal in Providence is poised for disaster,” said Chris Kilian, Vice President of Strategic Litigation at CLF. “It will take only one significant storm to inundate this facility and release toxic chemicals into surrounding waters and neighborhoods. Shell has failed to protect this terminal from the well-known impacts of climate change, and we will continue our fight to protect the community.”
“Shell’s facility is an accident waiting to happen,” said Chris Kilian, Vice President of Strategic Litigation at CLF. “One severe storm could result in the terminal spilling toxic chemicals into the Providence River and surrounding communities. The company has failed to prepare the facility for the effects of climate change, even as sea levels continue to rise and stronger storms are becoming more frequent. We will continue the fight to protect the community and our environment from the dangers posed by this terminal.”
Over six days, Hurricane Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water on Houston and parts of the Gulf Coast, leaving a wide swath of destruction and toxic pollution for communities to deal with as they try to rebuild from the storm. 100,000 homes incurred damage or were lost altogether, and restoration efforts are estimated to… Continue reading Lessons from Houston: Protecting New England Communities from Toxic Spills