Time to face the music – Dirty oil’s bid for respectability exposed

Media release - April 26, 2014
New Orleans, 26 April 2014: Greenpeace took to the skies and the ground today at the 45th Louisiana Jazz fest to highlight Shell’s reckless plans to drill in the Arctic.

A 100 foot banner reading ‘Love Jazz Fest – Hate Oil Spills’ tailed a light plane atop of the tens of thousands people attending the festival in New Orleans today. Volunteers distributed fans with the now famous rebranding of the Shell logo featuring devil horns and a polar bear, as well as stickers and information on Shell’s corporate irresponsibility.

“Shell utilizes its comparatively small sponsorship of the Festival to earn goodwill, gain credibility as a good community member, and distance itself from the disastrous recent headlines around their recent Alaskan debacle,” said Greenpeace Spokesperson Mary Nicol.

“We love music and have enormous respect for this iconic Festival. Sadly the same can’t be said of Shell, who are exploiting the proud history, reputation and caliber of this event to paste over their head-long rush towards disaster.”

“As climate change causes dangerous Arctic melting, sending the shockwaves of extreme weather to every corner of the world, oil companies can only see dollar signs.  But Shell’s doomed attempt in 2012 showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that even the largest company on earth is ill prepared to take on Arctic conditions.”

“Within months of Shell beginning their hasty and ill prepared dash for Arctic oil, one of their aging drill ships had dragged anchor across Dutch Harbor, their spill containment dome was crushed “like a beer can”, and their other drillship was beached in a remote Alaskan harbor when the company moved it in dangerous conditions to avoid paying taxes in Alaska.

“Of course, Louisianans know far too well the impacts of dangerous climate change, and the long term economic and health crisis oil spills cause. The oil companies only care about their bottom line, even when they have devastating impacts on local communities,” said Ms Nicol.

Steve Murchie, Campaign Director of the Gulf Restoration Network added, "Coastal Louisiana is a prime example of the reckless behavior and poor regulation of the oil and gas industry.  Between the BP disaster and the destruction of coastal wetlands by companies including Shell, we're experiencing the consequences first hand.  These companies should make a commitment to restoring the coast and protecting the environment at least as significant as their PR campaigns and sponsorship of events like Jazz Fest."

“Around the world, people have seen through the desperate attempts of the oil companies to gain respectability by putting a sliver of their billion dollar profits into museums, art galleries and other cultural events. Many artists have boycotted shows, board members have resigned and patrons have gone elsewhere.”

“To allow oil companies back in the Arctic after the farcical display Shell put on two years ago would be grossly negligent. The Obama administration must place the Arctic off limits, and work with other world leaders to create a sanctuary at the top of the world,” said Ms Nicol.