Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Environmentalists and residents gave three hours of testimony calling on the Seattle Port Commission to reject Shell oil's Arctic drilling operations. (Photo: Climate Solutions/Twitter)

'The World is Watching' Seattle as Arctic Drilling Fight Heats Up

Shell says 'drop dead' after Port Commission calls for delay of rig arrival

Lauren McCauley

The Seattle Port Commission on Tuesday passed a resolution asking Shell to delay the arrival of its Arctic drilling rig, bending to pressure from local citizens, environmentalists, and city officials who packed the hearing to express outrage over the Commission's unilateral decision to house the oil fleet.

Local lawmakers are scrambling in the face of mounting public opposition to the news Monday that the Obama administration had granted conditional approval for Shell to begin its Arctic oil exploration.

Seattle Mayor Ed Mayor said that the Port Commission must apply for a new land-use permit in order to grant the oil giant a "homeport" lease for its drilling rig. However, the Commission did not go so far as to rescind the initial lease and, refusing to alter its drilling schedule, Shell still plans for its rig and support vessels to reach the port later this week before heading to Arctic waters.

The Seattle Times reports:

"Rig movement will commence in the days to come," said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith in an email.

Foss Maritime CEO Paul Stevens, whose company is slated to work on the Shell rigs at Terminal 5, was equally blunt: "We are going to proceed… These rigs and our operation will be in and out of here before there is any conclusion on the appeal process." He said the first of the two drilling ships will arrive Thursday.

Under the banner "sHellNO," local activists and environmental groups are holding a series of demonstrations in the coming days to protest Arctic drilling and other "extreme energy" projects in the face of the growing climate crisis. On Thursday, a band of kayakers are planning to confront the Shell fleet when it arrives at the port. Organizers are holding nonviolent protest trainings this week ahead of a mass direct action on Monday, during which activists have pledged to shut down Shell operations at the berthed rig.

During the Commission hearing, concerned citizens gave three hours of passionate testimony against Shell's Arctic drilling plans.

"Drilling in the precious Arctic is not on the right side of history,” Seattle resident Richard Hodgin told the assembly.

In a statement, which the New York Times said "alluded to the significance of the decision," San Francisco resident Amber Dawn Hallet, who traveled to Seattle for the protest, told the Commission: "Please be brave...The world is watching."

Other testimonies and updates were shared on Twitter.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass 'Imperiled' Polar Bears

"We're hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs."

Jessica Corbett ·


Indian Civil Society Groups to Biden: Force J&J to Share Vaccine Recipe With the World

"His administration has the moral, legal, and if necessary, financial power to lift intellectual property barriers and persuade J&J to license its vaccine."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems Call Fossil Fuel CEOs, Lobbyists to Testify About Climate Disinformation

"Oil and gas executives have lied to the American people for decades about their industry's role in causing climate change. It's time they were held accountable."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Grim and Alarming' UN Report Details 'Catastrophic' Global Failure on Climate

"We are not going in the right direction," warns the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Andrea Germanos ·


'Anti-China' Military Pact 'Threatens Peace and Stability' in Pacific, Groups Warn

"The announcement of the new Australia, Britain, and U.S. military alliance—AUKUS—represents a serious escalation of the new Cold War on China."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo