Activist Group Suing Energy Companies Completely Alters Its Complaint

Inspired by the “throw everything at the wall” approach utilized in climate liability cases filed by municipalities across the country, the Rockefeller-funded Conservation Law Foundation is now changing its tactics in its lawsuit against Shell Oil Co.

Chief Judge William Smith of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruled yesterday to allow CLF to make changes to their complaint – including changing both the parties they are suing and the grounds for the lawsuit. Specifically, the organization removed Royal Dutch Shell PLC as a defendant and added Triton Terminaling LLC and Equilon Enterprises LLC to the list. They also now claim that the defendants have failed to adequately meet requirements in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

CLF’s major amendments not only highlight the weaknesses in their complaint, it also serves to delay the resolution of a case allegedly critiquing delayed action to address rapid response to climate change. Shell called out these delays tactics in their opposing motion, explaining:

“This will result in an additional round of briefing on CLF’s failure to provide notice, followed by a 60-day delay while the statutory notice period elapses, and then re-filing of a motion for leave to amend – all at unnecessary time and expense and further disruption of the orderly and efficient schedule stipulated to by the parties (and now disregarded by CLF).”


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