Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Seattle Turns Out to Protest Drilling

credit: Elliot Johnson
Kayakers used their small crafts to protest the presence of Shell's huge Polar Pioneer drilling rig in the Port of Seattle on Saturday.  Calling the water born protest, the "Paddle in Seattle", hundreds floated outside a 100-yard exclusion zone holding signs and making noise to delay Shell's plans and hopefully make the company miss its limited window of good weather.  A coalition of activists now realise that the Port of Seattle's decision to lease public facilities to Foss Maritime is a potential choke point in big oil's efforts to exploit Arctic fossil fuel.  The City of Seattle, that does not control the port facilities, declared the vessel did not have a proper permit, in response to public outcry over the Port's decision.  New research published in Nature concludes that Arctic oil must remain unexploited in order to keep global temperature increase below 2 ℃.

credit: Greenpeace, "Climate Justice Now"
The water in Seattle's Elliot Bay is already heavily polluted. One paddler said the water felt greasy to the touch.  Imagine the damage an oil spill in the Chukchi Sea would do to Arctic wildlife.   On Monday, about 700 demonstrators took a land route to Terminal 5 where the massive rig is moored.  No protestors were arrested by the dozen police on watch.  A Shell Oil company spokesperson said the protests will not alter its preparations for drilling this summer.  Previously the company used Seattle's private shipyards to refurbish and maintain drilling rigs.  They have the attention of the city's activists now.