Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nigerians Sue Dutch Shell for $1 Billion for Oil Spill Damages

Your Black World reports
A tribal king in Nigeria has filed a lawsuit in the US courts against Royal Dutch Shell.  The suit, filed in Detroit, is seeking $1 billion in damages for pollution that the company has allegedly done to the environment, which has made people sick. 

This is yet another suit against the company that is also accused of significant human rights violations involving the torture and murder of activists who protested their presence in the country.  The case is a test for the possible liability of multi-national corporations with a US presence under the Alien Tort Statute.  The law goes back to 1789 and was meant to ensure to foreign governments that the US would not allow companies to breach international law.

The case alleges that Shell’s Nigerian operations are "well below internationally recognized standards to prevent and control pipeline oil spills" because the Anglo-Dutch company "has not employed the best available technology and practices that they use elsewhere in the world."

The suit notes a report by the United Nations that there was widespread contamination in the Nigerian Delta after 50 years of oil extraction.  The groundwater was then contaminated and hydrocarbons had penetrated the soil for up to five meters.