Taxpayers Pay Sierra Club To Sue to Stop Offshore Drilling

July 18, 2012 14:17

When they sue, the government has to incur the costs of defending itself against the lawsuits, and also picks up the expenses for the groups suing the government. No one even keeps track of how much money the government has ended up spending on such lawsuits.



From PJ Tatler


Shell Oil wants to drill exploratory wells off the Alaska coast in the Beaufort and Chuckchi seas. The area in which Shell wants to drill may turn out to be America’s largest offshore oil find in decades. The company paid the US government over $2 billion in 2005 and 2008 for rights to drill off the outer-continental shelf, and spent the ensuing years clearing regulatory hurdle after regulatory hurdle.


But just as Shell prepares to sink its first wells this month, along comes the big green job killing machine. The Sierra Club is leading a consortium of environmental groups that has mounted a last-second lawsuit aimed at stopping the wells.


A little known US law called the Equal Access to Justice Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, allows the groups to use lawsuits against government as revenue sources.


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