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Norway's government wins Arctic oil lawsuit, greens lose

Author: Alister Doyle and Terje Solsvik, Reuters, Published on: 4 January 2018

 An Oslo court approved Norway’s plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic on Thursday, dismissing a lawsuit by environmentalists who had said it violated people’s right to a healthy environment.

The case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth Group, had argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil, Chevron and others violated Norway’s constitution.

...The court ordered the environmental groups to pay the state’s legal costs of 580,000 Norwegian crowns ($71,700). Greenpeace said it would decide whether to appeal within the next two weeks.

 ...Greenpeace Norway...said the lawsuit had already cost Greenpeace almost 3 million crowns in legal fees. [Greenpeace said] the case had spurred debate about the risks of Arctic drilling and expressed hopes that it could inspire other lawsuits around the world. 

...[T]he court dismissed the environmentalists’ arguments that Norway should be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas exported to other nations, rather than just from exploration and drilling off Norway. The court also said the risks of Arctic drilling were limited.

During the hearing in late 2017, the government said it was inappropriate to invoke the constitution rather than focus on taxes and regulations to control greenhouse gases.

[Also refers to Lukoil, ConocoPhillips, Lundin, Aker BP, OMV, Centrica, Idemitsu]

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Related companies: Chevron Equinor (formerly Statoil)