Climate Crisis

CLF Files Motion Seeking Shell Oil Climate Documents

The 75-acre Shell terminal on Allens Avenue in Providence has 25 petroleum storage tanks and sits in a flood zone. (Frank Carini/ecoRI News)

PROVIDENCE — The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) recently filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island to force London-based Shell Oil to turn over records regarding the multinational oil and gas company’s knowledge of climate and severe weather risks as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

CLF has claimed in court proceedings that Shell’s Providence facility, which sits along the city’s waterfront, is unprepared for climate risks such as flooding and extreme weather. The 75-acre property and ethanol railcar terminal on Allens Avenue with 25 petroleum storage tanks sits in a flood zone and discharges petroleum and toxic chemicals into the Providence River via stormwater runoff.

Shell is refusing to release corporate documents that address its knowledge of or response to the impacts of the climate crisis.

“Once again, Shell is trying every trick in the book to avoid coming clean about its involvement in the climate crisis,” said Darrèll Brown, vice-president of CLF Rhode Island. “It’s long past time for the public to hear the truth about what this big oil giant knew about climate impacts and when they knew it. The court should see through this charade and order the company to release these records so this case can move forward.”

The case is now in the discovery phase, where both sides are required to produce information relevant to the lawsuit. The motion filed Jan. 4 seeks to force the company to release to CLF records regarding climate impacts and the vulnerability of the Providence facility, among other documents.

The lawsuit alleges that Shell has put Providence and Narragansett Bay in harm’s way by failing to prepare its fuel storage terminal for the worsening impacts of climate change. The company has a team in place to study climate-related risks to facilities like the one in Providence, but Shell is inexplicably claiming that records related to the team are irrelevant to this case, according to CLF.

For more information about the case against Shell, watch this video. This case is part of an ongoing series of CLF lawsuits targeting big oil facilities in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

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