Greenpeace Loses Norway Supreme Court Case over Arctic Offshore Drilling


December 22, 2020
Illustration: An offshore drilling rig in Norway -Credit: Tupungato/AdobeStock

Illustration: An offshore drilling rig in Norway -Credit: Tupungato/AdobeStock

Norway's supreme court approved the government's plans for Arctic oil exploration on Tuesday, dismissing a lawsuit by campaigners who claimed the scheme violated people's right to a healthy environment.

The verdict upheld rulings made by two lower courts, rejecting arguments by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth group that a 2015-2016 oil licensing round giving awards to Equinor and others had breached Norway's constitution.

While the case was specifically about ten exploration licenses awarded four years ago, the environmental campaigners had hoped that their appeal would set a precedent limiting the oil industry's Arctic expansion.

"The supreme court is rejecting the appeal," Chief Justice Toril Marie Oeie said as she announced the verdict.

The Nature and Youth advocacy group criticized the outcome.

"This means today's youth lacks fundamental legal protection from environmental damage jeopardizing our future... This is shocking and we are furious," the NGO said in a tweet. 

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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