Oil Check Washington

Seattle's Shell Nightmare isn't over

Its only been 2 weeks since Shell's Arctic oil rig left Seattle's Elliott Bay, and its skulking presences on the city's skyline already feels like a bad dream. Protestors pulled from the water and arrested juxtaposed by Shell’s Polar Pioneer being escorted on its way to Alaska made for an bizarrely disappointing morning.

While Shell may have left for the Arctic, Seattle’s relationship with the oil giant isn’t over. Foss has signed a 2 year deal and plans on returning in November for maintenance and repairs after their prolonged summer Arctic exploration.

Shell’s original arrival in Seattle sparked tremendous controversy. As debate swirled, Mayor Ed Murray’s office found that the Port of Seattle didn’t have the correct permit to dock an oil-rig at Terminal 5. This move meant that the Port would have to reapply. Foss Maritime, the company that brought Shell to Seattle, challenged the permit revocation in court but brought Shell in anyway while legal action was on going. This flew in the face of not only the city of Seattle but the Port as well who asked Foss to not bring Shell in until legal action was complete.

Foss brought Shell in knowing they didn’t have the permits to do so and decided to thumb their nose at the City and the Port. This wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t some arbitrary legal confusion. Foss knew they weren’t allowed to house Shell’s rig and brought it anyway.

Are we going to be a city and region that applies its laws unequally to citizens and out of state companies? Or are we going to listen to our residents and hold those that break city laws accountable? We need to choose what kind of message we want to send and we have until November to decide.


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