Saturday, January 11, 2003 English  

Exxon sues Greenpeace over Luxembourg protest

Brussels (Reuters): Oil giant Exxon Mobil is suing environmental group Greenpeace over a protest last year in Luxembourg, in which activists chained to petrol pumps brought business to a standstill, dreenpeace said on Wednesday.

The company said it wanted compensation after 600 campaigners shut down all its 28 Esso petrol stations in the country for 14 hours last October, accusing Exxon of lobbying Washington to pull-out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Exxon Mobil is the world's biggest publicly traded oil firm and the parent company of Esso. Greenpeace said the company was suing it in Luxembourg and the Netherlands for 225,000 euros (US$233,400).

"Esso is simply trying to squash all opposition by dragging anyone who dares to protest against its behavior through the courts," said Pascal Husting, executive director of Greenpeace Luxembourg.

Exxon said it wanted the suit to be an indictment on Greenpeace's actions, which it called blatantly illegal and a violation of its freedom to do business.

"Esso Luxembourg...not only wishes to ask reimbursement for the incurred economic damaga, but also to condemn the serious misconduct of Greenpeace militants," the company said in a statement earlier this week.

The Kyoto pact commits signatories to reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions linked to global warming. President George W. Bush walked away from the treaty, saying it would do too much damage to the U.S. economy.

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