Ruling Clears the Way for CLF Trial Against Shell

Judge denies company’s motion for summary judgment

New Haven harbor

New Haven Harbor

October 20, 2023 (NEW HAVEN, CT) – A judge has denied Shell Oil’s latest attempt to throw out a climate lawsuit from Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). The lawsuit alleges that Shell’s oil terminal in New Haven has left nearby waters and neighborhoods at imminent risk of being inundated with oil and toxic chemicals in the event of floods and other extreme weather driven by climate change. The company filed a motion for summary judgment, which asked the judge to toss out several claims in the case and was rejected today.

“Despite Shell’s many efforts to obstruct our case and avoid producing evidence, the court has recognized that this important case will now proceed to trial,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “The company’s inconsistent positions about climate risk and unlawful operation of its New Haven facility are putting families, businesses, and local waters in harm’s way. This decision brings us one step closer to protecting New Haven communities and the surrounding environment from Shell’s unlawful conduct.”

Shell’s New Haven facility sits in the coastal zone and is unprepared for weather risks like flooding and extreme weather, including the increasing threats driven by climate change. As a result, the facility is contaminated and threatening catastrophic spills of oil and other toxic materials from the property. Shell has refused to release corporate documents showing its longstanding knowledge of the impacts of climate change and needed protective measures consistent with best industry practice at the Terminal. This case is part of an ongoing series of CLF lawsuits targeting big oil facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

CLF experts are available for further comment.