Seattle port bosses want Shell’s Arctic fleet delayed but not barred

San Francisco: One day after Shell’s Arctic drilling hopes received a boost from the US government, Seattle Port Commissioners sent mixed signals on the same issue.

On Monday the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave its conditional approval to Shell’s proposals for exploration and drilling in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska.

The plan is for Shell to house its Arctic fleet in Seattle’s port. And that’s where a lot of the legal moves and protest action have been focused.

On Tuesday Seattle’s port commissioners instructed port CEO Ted Fick to request that Foss Maritime, which is leasing Seattle’s Terminal Five and making it ready for Shell, put off Shell’s planned home port “pending legal review”. Foss is appealing Seattle major Ed Murray’s recent decision that the port would violate its lease by hosting the Arctic fleet.

At the same time, in a seemingly contradictory move, the port will side with Foss in that very same appeal against the city’s decision that Arctic drilling equipment should not be at the terminal.

Greenpeace and other environmental activists, meanwhile, are gearing up for a three-day “Festival of Resistance” against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans this weekend.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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