We’re all going to die. The human race will go extinct. This will destroy us.
That’s just a smattering of the hysterical Chicken Littling that fell on the ears of the Seattle Port Commission on May 12 as a parade of Arctic drilling opponents and avowed socialists urged the members to revoke the port’s contract with Foss Maritime and thereby prohibit Shell from parking the Polar Pioneer drill rig at Terminal 5 before it is towed to the Chukchi Sea this summer.
Foss is appealing an interpretation by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development that declared the mooring of the Polar Pioneer and two associated tugs at Terminal 5 did not meet the criteria of a cargo use. The Port Commission voted to join Foss’ appeal, but also voted to urge the company not to move the Polar Pioneer from Port Angeles to Terminal 5 until the legal wrangling is resolved.
To their credit, Shell and Foss have told the City of Seattle and the port that they will proceed with moving the rig and performing the scheduled work as planned.
It’s a refreshing act of political will being shown by Shell and Foss in the face of a shrieking horde of opposition led by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray that is pursuing every means both legal and illegal to disrupt Shell’s efforts to conduct oil exploration in the Arctic.
Timing is everything, and as this edition of the Journal goes to press an amazing flotilla of some 29 vessels is converging on the Pacific Northwest from around the globe in a remarkable feat of logistics years in the making.
Murray, the “kayaktavists,” the “Shell no” socialists, Raging Grannies and the lawless bunch at Greenpeace that were recently ordered by a federal judge to stay away from Shell’s vessels all know that if they can slow down any part of Shell’s plans they can disrupt the entire summer exploration plan.
Murray and the planning department are attempting to find a legal ground to stop Shell’s plans, but their effort is rendered incredible when the mayor has linked the legality of the port permit with his political views on Arctic drilling.
Political grandstanding is not a legal strategy, and Shell and Foss at least for now won’t be bullied into going along with it. As the mayor’s office threatens possible fines, hopefully the legal teams at Shell and Foss are readying a case to enjoin the City of Seattle from enforcing its nakedly biased interpretation of the port’s land use permit.
Calling the mayor’s bluff and transporting the Polar Pioneer to Terminal 5 is a bold move, but it is also the only choice for two companies who are being backed into a corner by a bunch of self-righteous zealots.
— Alaska Journal of Commerce,