Nigerian court orders Shell to pay $1.5 billion for pollution

A Nigerian court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to ante up $1.5 billion in damages to communities in the Niger Delta, citing oil spills that polluted regional rivers, spoiled crops, and poisoned fish. The Friday ruling is a major victory for the region’s Ijaw people, who have struggled for over a decade to get compensation for environmental damages. Shell says it will appeal. The court ruling comes during an upsurge in violence in the Niger Delta, where local communities live in squalor despite the region’s oil riches. The militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta kidnapped several employees of a U.S. oil industry subcontractor nine days ago and demanded that foreign oil firms leave the region. The group’s attacks over the past two months have shut down almost a fifth of the country’s oil production.