Seattle-area residents are fuming after a back door deal allowing Shell Oil to set up shop in the Emerald City recently came to light, months after it was already set in motion.
The Port’s entry into the lease with Foss Maritime to open Terminal 5 to Shell’s Arctic drilling convoy was made in February without public proceedings or an environmental review. Not only did the rental agreement violate the Port of Seattle’s long-range plans and its shoreline permit, which designate Terminal 5 as a cargo terminal, but it broke state law and the port’s own rules.
That’s where Earthjustice comes in.
Earthjustice is representing Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council and Seattle Audubon Society in a legal fight to vacate the lease. The groups and local residents have pressed the port to rescind the lease and to invest in sustainable jobs that reflect the community’s values and air prospective terminal lessees in public.
It’s an argument 200 locals made just last week during the Port of Seattle’s March 10 meeting as one after another spoke out against the decision to bring Shell into Seattle’s backyard.
Allowing Shell to use Seattle as a home base puts local waters, salmon and other wildlife at risk from oil and pollutants. In addition, allowing Arctic drilling in the Chukchi Sea endangers the area’s whale, seal and polar bear populations, which will endure sound disturbances that can get in the way of their feeding habits and migration. Arctic Ocean oil and gas pose major climate threats, too. Oil development in the Arctic will release black carbon directly onto Arctic ice, significantly accelerating the melting effects of climate change.
Later this month, the Department of the Interior will announce whether it will reaffirm controversial Bush-era oil leases, after a court-ordered re-analysis of the lease decision showed that opening the Chukchi Sea to oil drilling will have even more dramatic and long-lasting effects and risks than previously disclosed
Shell Oil intends to seek permits to drill as soon as this summer if the lease sale is approved. There’s no margin for error in our iconic Alaskan waters as the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has already concluded there is a 75 percent risk of one or more large oil spill when these leases are developed
.Shell Oil is Criminal
We’re working to protect Seattle’s waters, Alaska’s wildlife, the Arctic Ocean and our world from a lease that would allow Shell’s drill ships to be housed at the port.One of those ships is the Noble Discoverer, which was the focus of eight felony convictions and more than $12 million in fines and community service due to pollution and propulsion issues as well as recordkeeping problems involving the Arctic drillship
.The operator of the other drill ship, the Polar Pioneer, paid more than $1.4 billion in criminal and civil fines for its role in the 2010 Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Both drill ships could come to the Port of Seattle under the terms of the lease with Foss Maritime Company. http://earthjustice.org/blog/2015-march/shell-s-battle-for-seattle?utm_source=crm&utm_content=button&curation=ebrief #ShellHatesYourChildren #ShellOil #Arctic