South Africa – On Tuesday, a South African court barred Shell from using seismic waves in the Indian Ocean to look for oil and gas. Environmentalists concerned about the impact of oil giant Shell on whales and other species have won a landmark victory in court. A lawsuit filed by conservationists and local groups in Makhanda, Eastern Cape, was upheld by the High Court.
Shell was barred from “undertaking seismic survey operations,” according to the court’s decision, which went into effect immediately. The fossil-fuel behemoth planned to start exploring 6,000 square kilometers of ocean off the coast of South Africa. The Wild Coast is dotted with a marine stretch that is home to nature reserves, making it an environmentally sensitive area.
Shell’s survey application was “unlawful and invalid,” according to the judge, because consultations with coastal communities were “substantially flawed.” This decision brings to an end a legal battle that saw thousands of people gather on beaches across the country to protest.