Greenpeace in undersea fight

Greenpeace is urging Mr Justice Maurice Kay to rule in a High Court judicial review that the Department of Trade and Industry is under a legal duty to protect coral beds, whales, dolphins and other marine life from the effects of oil and gas exploration. Greenpeace claims the Government has failed to apply the EC Habitats Directive to oil and gas exploration in what Greenpeace's counsel Nigel Plemming QC described in court as the "Atlantic frontier". Greenpeace claims that the directive applies to the UK continental shelf as well as to UK territorial waters. It argues that the Government is failing to provide sufficient protection for the ocean wildlife and has rendered the mammals and other sealife more vulnerable to extinction. Oil companies including Texaco, Esso UK, Marathon Oil UK, Mobil North Sea, Enterprise Oil, Conoco, Statoil, Philips Petroleum Co UK, Elf Exploration and British Gas Exploration and Production are opposing Greenpeace's moves.