A US district court judge in Alaska issued a restraining order against Greenpeace activists protesting Shell’s offshore drilling in the Arctic, the Associated Press reported. The order, granted on Saturday by Judge Sharon Gleason, prohibits the protesters from entering a “safety zone” around the 400-foot Polar Pioneer oil rig and its transport vessel, called the Blue Marlin.
The ruling was issued the same day as six Greenpeace members “abandoned [the] Seattle-bound drill rig they boarded in the Pacific Ocean,” after occupying it for six days. Rough sea conditions caused the protesters to get off the Polar Pioneer.
Shell spokesperson Kelly op de Weegh said that the oil giant was “pleased with the order.”
“These tactics are not peaceful protests. They jeopardize the safety of the people working on board and the protesters themselves, especially aboard a moving vessel at sea,” said op de Weegh.
Greenpeace USA spokesperson Travis Nichols said the organization “maintains its position that this is not the proper venue for Shell’s complaint and will be prepared for further legal arguments at the preliminary injunction hearing on April 28.”
Shell isn’t stopping with just this restraining order; it is also seeking an injunction “against further Greenpeace actions on Shell ships bound for or already in the Arctic.”
“Greenpeace USA has now resumed its reckless behavior,” Shell wrote in the court filing last week. “As soon as Shell announced its intention to return to the Arctic for the summer of 2015, Greenpeace USA immediately reinitiated its campaign to stop Shell.”
What’s truly reckless is not Greenpeace’s protesting; it’s Shell’s drilling practices in the Arctic. As proven by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, offshore drilling is incredibly dangerous, and a spill in the Arctic would be extremely difficult to contain and clean up. The Greenpeace protesters are simply trying to draw attention to Shell’s activities and stop Big Oil from causing more damage to the environment than it already has.