AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commissioners being asked again to cancel Terminal 5 lease

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING with video of West Seattleite Aji Piper’s song for the commission)

TOPLINES:

-Terminal 5 lease was not formally on agenda but dominated Port Commission’s public-comment period
-78 speakers
-One commissioner proposed a motion (for vote at a later date) that would cap this lease at 2 years and set up a public process for potentially controversial leases in the future
-Port CEO said flatly that lease is signed, payments are coming in, it can’t be broken without legal exposure.

Here’s how it unfolded:

*************

1:17 PM: We’re at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, where regular Port Commission meetings don’t always attract a crowd the size of the one that’s here now. Opponents had promised to again use the public-comment portion of the meeting to ask commissioners to cancel the lease the port has signed for Foss to use a third of West Seattle’s Terminal 5 for the Shell Arctic-drilling fleet. We’ll be updating as it goes. You should be able to watch the meeting live here.

Another note: Though the conference center is not behind the security line at Sea-Tac, we had to go through a security check to get in – not SOP for most public meetings – when we asked the airport personnel doing the checking why that was happening, they said this was considered a “high-visibility” meeting. That, despite the fact the lease is not at this point officially on the agenda – the discussion will come up in the “public comment” section shortly after the meeting begins.

Four commissioners are here – Courtney Gregoire is absent. Co-president Stephanie Bowman is asking the crowd to “be respectful” and she is asking anyone interested in singing (apparently she got advance word of this) to do it as a group. She has her rubber chicken again, which will be used as a signal if things need to get back into control. Really.

1:17 PM: The non-related public comment has concluded and Commissioner Bill Bryant has asked to make a statement before people start speaking about the T-5 issue. He says he has six clarifications. See our Twitter account for the six. One is the contention that port signed with Foss, not Shell, and the first speaker says that’s “splitting hairs … You are recklessly hurtling us into destruction, and that is a fact.” She also says asking people to speak at a 1 pm weekday meeting not even in Seattle doesn’t exactly solicit maximum public opinion. Second speaker says the commission’s decision was “courageous” and “has to do with competing in the 21st century. … This is an economically sensible 2-year solution to keep the port vibrant …” Third speaker says she’s against the lease and calls it a “death warrant … knowing the dangers and destruction that will ultimately happen. Please do the right thing … please break this lease.”

Fourth speaker says he’s with Coalition for Port Accountability, “a new grass-roots group,” delivering a letter. He reads from it and calls the decision “a reckless mistake” running counter to port’s mission “of environmental stewardship.” He also asks them to “rescind the decision and (revoke) the lease with Foss … soon.” Fifth speaker, Mark Powell from the Washington Environmental Council, says, “The port has done some good things. This lease is not one of them. … This is not ‘where a sustainable world is headed.'” He says the lease “undermines the progress on restoration” of Puget Sound. He says he is an outdoor swimmer and plans a swim down the Duwamish/Green Rivers, hoping he won’t find “new and unexpected hazards” when he does, because of this.

Sixth speaker is Eric Schinfeld, who says he wants to clarify “what this lease is really about” and thinks people should keep in mind that Foss and the Port “have been leaders in environmental sustainability.” He was followed by five Raging Grannies who sang (we’ll add video later) against the lease. Eighth speaker is an opponent calling the lease “a decision made poorly.” She says she supports the idea of not letting T-5 sit idle while it awaits modernization, but has questions for the commission, starting with: “Of the 40 opportunities that were potential lessees, why was the one with Foss the only one that fit – what happened with the others?” She concludes, “What we say and what we do here matter globally and locally.”

Alison Fujino is ninth and also asks the port, “listen to the citizens and cancel the lease for T-5.”

1:38 PM: Tenth, John Lockwood from Vigor says that “more than 60 new family-wage jobs have been created for this single project” already, including three dozen at their Tacoma shipyard building related items.

“I work at a shipyard that’s been an icon in Seattle for 99 years. We are the job creators. … We applaud you standing tall to keep the maritime industry strong in Seattle.” Eleventh, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Cornwell says she asks “as a person of faith and a scientist, that the Port rescind the lease with Foss Maritime,” saying it threatens “sustainable prosperity for all.” She asks for a show of hands of those in the room who agree with her, and many hands go up.

“What will it profit us if we do things that make money at the expense of our very lives and the lives of others?” she asks.

CONTINUES BELOW/AHEAD:

Twelfth speaker describes herself as a “tired and cranky old woman” who is tired of “beg(ging)” elected officials to do what she considers to be the right thing. She cites the port’s “where a sustainable world is headed” tagline (as have others) and says, “there is nothing even remotely sustainable about drilling for oil in the Arctic.” She cites what has been said before, that Arctic oil “must be kept in the ground” if climate change is to be kept in hand. She is the first to mention the Seattle mayor/city council’s decision to ask DPD to investigate the lease (as reported here yesterday). 13th speaker, Ted Musselman from Jones Stevedoring, says his company is thankful for the lease and has added five jobs to a staff of 50.

14th speaker says he is disappointed in the commissioners and that while he thinks he has voted for those who supported the lease (Creighton, Bowman, Bryant) he won’t in the future. “How dare you make the Port of Seattle complicit in that atrocity?” (Arctic drilling), he asks, saying that it “puts future generations at risk” and is an example of “climate suicide.” 15th speaker, Michael Foster, opens with a question: “Are we here for a funeral or a party? … and only you can answer that by your decision on this lease.” He says he is a volunteer helping kids organize for climate justice, planting trees to help stop climate change – “1 trillion – that’s a lot of trees.”

He refers to an event happening in West Seattle this weekend, the Plant for the Planet Academy, happening Saturday at the Duwamish Longhouse and tree-planting on the Duwamish across the street. “These trees we are planting will be underwater if you go forward with this lease.”

Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi is next, 16th speaker, saying she was last in this room because of “a story, a story that big oil doesn’t want told. A large part of what Foss and Shell wanted from us is … in fact, to break the back of the fact that” there are still sensible people in this region. “They want a win here.” She adds, “We believe it’s your job to rescind this lease and if you don’t, it’s our job to make sure you don’t sit up there any longer.”

1:54 PM: 17th speaker is Kerry Walsh from Global Diving and Salvage who has praise for Foss and says it has a “keen eye for making sure that things are done correctly.” He wants the port to proceed with the lease. 18th speaker, Gregory Lewis, says he is a media producer and podcaster and tells the commissioners he’s “their boss.” He hangs a sign across the podium reading in part, “Wake up, God dammit!”

19th speaker, identified as Mohawk, says he lives near Sea-Tac Airport. He notes that the port is among the Duwamish River polluters. Co-president Bowman asks him not to swear (he has used the f-word a few times). “You need to clean up your act,” he tells the commissioners. 20th is a man who asks the port to “find another way – find another way to work with Foss, to work with maritime industries to create those jobs. … I would encourage you to reconsider.” 21st speaker is Alex Brott from FUSE Washington who asks the commission “to take more time for a more transparent public process … the Port of Seattle needs to stand with (citizens) and not with out-of-state oil companies.” He also mentions the “false choice of jobs vs. the environment.” Audience members snap their fingers – which co-president Bowman asked them to do instead of applaud, to save time.

22nd speaker, identifying herself as Imogene, mentions the violations with which Shell was charged related to its Arctic efforts. She says, “If you want to be in the oil business, you need to … see a picture of the Alberta oil sands,” which she describes as looking like “another world.” She declares, “Shell is not good corporate citizens. The people of Washington don’t want them … send them away.” 23rd, James Little, says he opposes the lease and says “prevent(ing) out-of-control climate chaos demands” that Arctic drilling not happen.

24th is Ralph Braseth, saying he is a journalism professor who grew up in West Seattle, noting that Seattle was “built on” the lumber industry. He says he thinks “this project is possible … I don’t think it has to be all or nothing” and thinks compromises can be made. He then goes on to call Shell “a brutal capitalistic company” but says “they’re not just evil … they’re giving us what we want,” oil. 25th, Bob Stegman, describing himself a “retired surgeon (from) Mercer Island,” says he’s against the lease. He says that oil industry’s promises to take great care “are a sham.” He also mentions explosion-prone oil trains and ask the commission to cancel “this deceptive and tragic lease.”

26th speaker asks commissioners to imagine their grandchildren, great-grandchildren living in a warmed world, reading a note saying “sorry about that.” … “Wouldn’t your conscience cringe at that, because your conscience knows what the right decision is.” He says, “I’m asking you to reverse the lease, and if you don’t, your conscience will be screaming at you, ‘Shame on you’.” He also again names the commissioners who supported the lease at the 1/13 meeting, Creighton, Bowman, and Bryant.

27th speaker, Brian, says he is 34 and has “witnessed the rise of a raging corporatocracy.” He sounds close to tears as he speaks of environmental damage, but then lauds increased awareness and responsibility “to change our way of life .. to protect those parts of the world we haven’t yet destroyed. … We as a species cannot afford Arctic drilling.” … “Let’s place ourselves on the right side of history.” He is cheered loudly.

28th speaker, Carlo Voli, says he’s with 350 Seattle (climate-change-awareness group). He vows there will be demonstrations if Shell’s ships such as the Noble Discoverer are brought back here again.

“We’ve all heard about the mishaps and the fiasco with Shell’s first attempt in the Arctic,” also involving the Kulluk, which, with the Noble Discoverer, was here for work at Vigor a few years ago, and says he’s incredulous that they would be allowed here “after such an incredible failure.”

29th speaker, Curtis with the Port Accountability coalition, says, “We’re talking about Shell Oil here” and also brings up its record from the previous Arctic attempt. He says the port’s permission for this lease makes it “cheaper and easier” for Shell to drill. “You must either take the side of the planet and its people or … (of) its destruction. … The opposition before you today is only the tip of the iceberg. You can’t wait us out on this one. Rescind the lease now, or watch your city turn against you.”

30th speaker, Peter, a lease supporter, says he’s glad the commission has stood strong “in the face of misguided opposition.” He says that Foss has an excellent track record and that the lease will ensure “energy independence” and a “vibrant local economy.” He says canceling it would “open the door … to unsafe operators” getting involved.

2:22 PM: 31st speaker, John Flynn, says he came to Seattle almost 30 years ago from Alaska. (We apologize for not catching everyone’s names as they come to the podium to speak.) He talks about being familiar with an Alaskan town and saying that no one from that town is here to speak about how this decision will affect the people there. 32nd speaker, Beth Doglio from Climate Solutions, has praise for the mayor and City Council for their action to ask for an investigation. “We’re at the time where a clear line has to be drawn … we cannot continue to build fossil-fuel infrastructure.” She says she wishes Shell were pursuing a lease with the port for exporting alternative energy: “That is (what) the region needs and the world needs.” She mentions the Port of Longview rejecting a propane terminal after extensive public input and urges the commission to cancel the lease.

33rd speaker says she is a nurse from Bainbridge Island and “adding my voice today because I cannot stand by and watch and whine about the horrors of big oil … without speaking out.” She says the Northwest is “becoming America’s fossil-fuel highway … Are you going to allow this?” 34th speaker says he is a retired lawyer/engineer who has been in the NW for half a century. He says he has nothing against Foss, but he does against Shell. He says he wants the commissioners not to talk about profits, but to be “prophets.”

35th speaker talks about Foss’s safety history and thanks the commissioners for their “wise decision.” 36th speaker says she is a UW student and “what’s the point of getting a degree if our future is not promised? … Your decision … was a death sentence to my kids.” She says her father was an Ethiopian refugee and that this decision will create millions of refugees.

36th speaker is retired Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, saying people need to “stop acting as if this is business as usual .. .it is not.” She says that regarding the argument that some other port will get the business if Seattle doesn’t, that too is “business as usual.”

(Bowman has said there are “about 50 more people” signed up to speak. At 2 minutes each, that’s going on almost two hours.)

37th speaker is Jimmy Haun, a West Seattleite and union rep who thanks the commissioners for the lease, and saying it has been greatly “vetted.” He says the lease will “provide much-needed jobs” and will be “felt regionally for years to come … it is time to stop outsourcing American jobs, we must revive the middle class.”

38th speaker is Emily Johnston from 350.org. She says port workers deserve better than to be told that environmentally destructive jobs are all that’s available for them.

39th speaker is from Global Diving and says he’s worked on the waterfront for 20 years, pointing out that Seattle is the gateway to Alaska, and that “the maritime industry provides real jobs” at family wages.

40th speaker is Davis Oldham. “We cannot hope to survive as a civilization, even a species, if we continue to burn fossil fuels, and we have to get out of the false dichotomy of jobs vs. the environment.” He mentions climate-change effects “already (being) seen. … The economic benefits being claimed by this project will be dwarfed by the damage done to the environment.”

(2:45 pm note – we’re having equipment-power issues and are continuing this 100 percent on Twitter. twitter.com/westseattleblog)

Added: Here are links to tweets about the speakers not mentioned here but mentioned via Twitter:

41st twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575412511274459136
42nd twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575412993489440768
43rd twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575413266802827264:

44th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575413571439325184
45th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575413777262231552
46th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575414146595868672
47th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575414595545780224
48th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575415824883691520 – This was West Seattleite Aji Piper, 14, from Plant for the Planet. We rolled video on the song that comprised his comment:

49th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575416193063874562
50th twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575418708924887040
51st twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575419303886876672
52nd twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575419767726583808

53rd twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/575420393265086464

3:20 PM: Power issues solved, back “live.” We are up to the 54th speaker, who asks the commission to “tell Shell, no way in hell, we don’t want ’em here.” 55th speaker says, “It’s predictable what’s going to happen in the Arctic, and here” – aka, environmental damage. 56th speaker says, “Lead us away from fossil fuels and toward a sustainable future.” 57th speaker: “I think there has been a very big mistake made.” She says canceling the lease will be an opportunity to “lead, to take us into a clean-energy future. Everybody makes mistakes – this was a huge one.” 58th speaker thanks the mayor and council for their action yesterday, and says “the science is clear … we cannot drill in the Arctic” and save the planet’s future. It’s for today’s children, she says, and she reads the names of seven nieces/nephews – from 19 years old, down to an 8 year old. 59th speaker is Jordan Royer with the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the Washington State Maritime Federation, which he says is a new organization to support jobs.

Royer says he hasn’t heard anyone speak about the federal officials – President Obama, former Seattleite and current Interior Secretary Sally Jewell – who will make the decision on drilling.

3:30 PM: 60th speaker speaks of the current changes seen in the weather, and concern about farming disruptions ahead. “A few hundred jobs pale in comparison to the demise of the ability of our planet to feed ourselves.” 61st speaker says she’s “actually saying something that hasn’t been said before … In order to not break the 2-degree global warming limit … (oil companies have listed assets) that are 5 times more than we can safely use” in order to prevent climate catastrophe. It’s “mandatory” for the oil companies’ business plans, but not for the port’s plan, and, she notes, it’s “mandatory” for the commissioners “to listen to our opinions.” 62nd speaker, Mark Hennen, says he supports maritime business but thinks Shell should be judged on its “filthy history.” He also decries the proposal having been kept secret until just before the January 13th commission meeting at which the lease was first discussed. “You may have been played by Shell and its experts,” he tells the commissioners, urging them to “toss (Shell) out.”

63rd speaker, Michael, says, “There are two types of elected officials: One who represents the Seattle community, and the elected official who decides what they think is best. I implore you to reverse your decision and listen to your community. … If not now, when? If not here, where? Seattle represents a progressive environmental community and we would like to keep it that way … Please follow our values of our community and reverse your decision.”

64th speaker, Darby Bundy, says she took to Twitter out of rage “like any 20-something-year-old” when she heard of this, and quotes the reply she got from Commissioner Creighton, saying he wasn’t willing to turn away jobs to “make a statement” about carbon. She said he’s wrong. “We don’t want oil. Yes, we use it, because we have no other alternative.” She gave up her car three years ago, she said.

65th speaker says he recently came here from Appalachia and is “humbled” by the local community; he comes from “a community that has been ravaged by fossil fuels,” and spoke of a family friend just lost “in the coal mines there. Enough is enough. The time to stand up is now.” 66th, farmer John Loranger, saying he’s adding his voice to the “chorus” of voices “asking you to rescind this lease.” He says Arctic drilling is “driven by blind greed … justified by deadly and shameful cynicism” which is how he views the decision the commission made. He says it’s “deceitful and divisive” to contend that it would be wrong to reject the lease because the jobs matter more. 67th speaker, also a lease opponent, says, “There’s an urgency to this that I want you people to understand.” He says a “tipping point” is “right around the corner,” including methane to be released from the Arctic melt. And he says that voters believed the commissioners’ profession of values, so they need to be leaders.

3:50 PM: 68th speaker, Sam, says he’s opposed to the location of the meeting, the airport, “which is inaccessible by human-powered transport.” 69th speaker, Don Bennett, says he’s representing the Evergreen Democratic Club, which “went on record … opposing this lease.” He says he has a few points that haven’t been mentioned yet. For one, low oil prices. “If it costs more to dig out of the ground than they can get for it, that is not a sustainable way to proceed,” he says. And he offers a mention to “union brothers and sisters who have spoken already” – pointing out T-5’s planned modernization and the jobs that work will create. 70th speaker, a filmmaker, talks about wars fought over resources and their cost, and how that money could be better spent, in ways including restoring the environment. 71st speaker thanks the commissioners for listening, and says he believes the majority feels the decision is a bad decision. It’s not jobs vs. oil, and oil companies are not people, he says. They don’t have a conscience, but the commissioners do, he says.

72nd, James from Socialist Alternative says he is standing with Councilmember Kshama Sawant in saying, “Shell No!” and notes that 90 percent of those who have spoken have been against the lease. (We haven’t tallied our running count yet.) “Oil is not the pathway to jobs,” he said, recalling that just before the Deepwater Horizon spill, the president had “said that oil spills are a thing of the past.” 73rd speaker is West Seattle lawyer Peter Goldman, who is involved with the coalition that is suing the Port over the lease. He is reading some fine print including a contention (as others have alleged) that this is not part of the permitted use of T-5, which would give the commission a reason to break the lease. He also mentions the mayor and council’s direction for an investigation, and he mentions the lawsuit. He says specific findings would also give the port cover to cancel the lease.

4:04 PM: Another Socialist Alternative-mentioning speaker says it’s “very gracious of people to thank the commissioners” for listening, while “the rest of us are taking time off work to participate in the democratic process … I’m going to speak plainly … I for one have felt insulted by the phony arguments made” in support of the lease. “It’s been suggested that the majority of us in this room don’t understand what this lease means … I understand perfectly what is going on.” She lists several things she “understands,” including that something else could have been done with the terminal. “We’re not stupid and we’re not buying it.” 75th speaker is a woman who says she is taking time from her business. “We’re past the time when there is any doubt about man-made global climate change.” She says, “We are taking, basically, our life in our hands … this is not some tree-hugging, granola-crunching idea, this is straight science … a scientific consensus that time is running out for the way that we do business.”

76th – Lee Colleton, who describes himself as a veteran, a Socialist Alternative member, and an electric-vehicle advocate, says he understands why this deal was done “as a backroom, word-of-mouth, no-disclosure process,” but “we cannot let the oil that is in the Arctic be extracted and burned. It’s not a matter of a few hundred jobs for a couple years.” He says he can’t believe he’s had to take time out of his job to “come and address you on this issue.” He says that Shell is trying for a “tax dodge” because of the rates here. Speaker #77 also says he drove his electric vehicle here. “What got me out here today is what I see as a probable chain of events here … As an environmentalist, I see the Arctic as the crown jewel of the environmental movement, pure, and wild, where animals live freely, very important ecosystem to the world.” He foresees an oil-spill disaster if this goes on, so it was too important for him not to take time off work and come speak today. He says “I’m going to get my kayak when that first Shell rig comes … I’m not fearing civil-disobedience arrest … I’m sure the majority of Seattle residents are opposed to this.”

Speaker #78, Ahmed, also notes the difficulty of the time period and the location, and says Commissioner Creighton saying there had been adequate public input before this, feels like a personal insult. He says that the commissioners’ conduct already seems to be a stain on their record.

He is the final speaker.

Commissioner Tom Albro speaks now, and is proposing a motion. (See it here.) It is NOT a rescission but includes the line “the Port of Seattle Commission is asserting its control over critical elements of the Terminal 5 interim use under the Foss Maritime Company lease. And that lease, under terms of this motion, “shall not be amended in any way.” Albro says that they have “looked into” canceling the lease but don’t “see a path” toward doing that, absent perhaps something resulting from the outside actions that are under way. This would require Foss to vacate after 2 years unless there is a decision that is “made in the public domain.” The motion also says that as part of the port’s new policy-directives process, they’ll “establish new requirements for leases of significant public interest including at a minimum, a 30-day public comment period and the completion of all relevant environmental reviews in advance of Commission consideration.” Albro says he agrees with many speakers that “jobs vs. environment” is a false choice.

Commissioner Creighton says he spoke with Albro about the resolution in the past week and that whether you support or oppose the lease, he agrees that they deserve being called out on (lack of) public process. He says that the commission has been right, however, to delegate authority in the past, since it’s a part-time commission overseeing a half-billion-dollar business. He goes on about jobs and the middle class, and how much more port/maritime jobs pay than the average. “What do we accomplish by rescinding .. or amending, or shortening this lease? I think that’s something that really needs to be examined.” And he mentions, as have several others today, Foss’s environmental record. Others support the energy economy in Alaska, so “if we’re going to call out one lessee, are we going to call out others?” Or what about planes full of oil workers heading to Alaska? “I think it’s going to open a Pandora’s box,” he said. At one point, the remaining spectators applaud the concept of examining other lessees. The first speaker of the day, sitting in the front row, says to Creighton that “it’s simple.” He disagrees. “We can’t just do symbolism here.” That draws scoffs from the gallery. Bowman says she supports the motion and perhaps it can be considered at the next meeting. Creighton says he’d ask for a 30-day period of “transparency” before consideration, and that draws laughs from the gallery.

4:41 PM: One of the anti-lease speakers asks for clarification of where things stand. CEO Ted Fick jumps in and declares he will give the status of the lease. It was signed February 9th, he said, took effect that same day, and Foss has been paying the port since then, money that he says is going into the modernization effort. He says the lease cannot be canceled/changed without “incurring millions of dollars in costs to taxpayers” related to breach of contract, and so, he says, that will not happen. And on the commission moves to other business (including its $200 million contribution to the Highway 99 tunnel).

–Tracy Record, WSB editor

17 Replies to "AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commissioners being asked again to cancel Terminal 5 lease"

  • Peter March 10, 2015 (4:24 pm)

    What a bunch of loonies. Don’t they have jobs?

    • WSB March 10, 2015 (4:47 pm)

      Yes, actually, Peter, and several pointed out that they had to take time off to come here and participate in the process, while also chiding the commission for not having its meetings, or at least a hearing on this issue, at a time that more people COULD be present. Whether you agree or disagree with any particular side, I hope you don’t disagree with the right of people to have a say on something being done with taxpayer-owned property. Covering hundreds of meetings every year, I am always glad to see people care enough to show up (and there were people here both pro and con, by the way, as I have chronicled as it went, mentioning every single speaker and the heart of her/his statement). Now … I’m off to another public meeting once this one is gaveled. – Tracy

  • Concerned observer March 10, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    I’m seeing three themes:
    1) We don’t want to do business with Shell in any way, shape, or form.
    2) We don’t want the local environmental consequences of doing business with Shell, because they are bound to be nasty.
    3) We assume the local environmental impacts of this deal have been addressed, so let the lease move forward to provide local jobs.

    Group 1 is the loudest, and apparently has the backing of the Mayor and City Council, although those “august” politicians couch their concern in argument #2, which they hope can derail the deal in bureaucratic red tape, “investigation,” and endless delays.

    Do the loudest, most extreme voices truly express the will of the people? Hell no.

    My position is probably closest to #3, although additional local environmental safeguards would be fine with me. I say move forward with the deal (and revenue and jobs that come with it), but watch the activities on and near Terminal 5 like a hawk.

    Also, if I were Shell or Foss, I might have my lawyers look at a potential breach of contract lawsuit against the Port and city if we do rescind the contract or try to drastically change its terms.

  • Nancy March 10, 2015 (5:13 pm)

    Great coverage Tracy! Thanks for your hard work.

  • Mr. B March 10, 2015 (5:28 pm)

    And then all the protesters got in their fossil fuel burning cars and went home.

  • Julie March 10, 2015 (5:34 pm)

    Tracy, thanks for the great coverage! And thanks to all those people who took the time to show up and speak their minds.

  • Lauri March 10, 2015 (5:57 pm)

    I wish I could have been there but wasn’t able to take the time off. Thank you for the detailed coverage!

  • ChefJoe March 10, 2015 (6:06 pm)

    I’m for the Port getting a $550,000 dollars a month in rent for Terminal 5 rather than letting it sit empty (or be used by idling short-haul semis) with no rent.

  • Ivan March 10, 2015 (6:50 pm)

    Thanks so much, Tracy, for the great coverage.

  • JayDee March 10, 2015 (7:04 pm)

    I too favor the lease; while I would like to believe that opposing this would have the effect of stopping Shell, it won’t and we may as well have the benefit of the maintenance project. And as to the sustainability argument, sending Shell to another port won’t be any less impact.

    Besides, sustainability is a red herring–nothing we do is sustainable in our current economic system with the population we need to support. At best we can argue for more sustainable over less, but even then, it is not clear that Arctic drilling is any less safe than widespread fracking and release of methane across the U.S., methane being a more potent GHG than CO2 from burning Arctic oil. Which is worse for the Arctic? I don’t know, and I am a scientist.

  • JayDee March 10, 2015 (7:05 pm)

    Thanks for the coverage WSB. Fair and even handed as always.

  • Dale March 10, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    Im for the protesters. I agree. Please pay the Port the 20 million plus and I will agree to change my vote to not proceed.

    Words payeth no bills.

  • Bill March 11, 2015 (12:31 am)

    Some commenters are stating flatly that there was no possible other leasees or tenants for terminal 5. Is that so?

    The comments made by the public seem to predominantly highlight the dangers of climate change and that it follows that humanity cannot afford to develop the billions of barrels of oil under the Arctic.

    While that is largely true, I saw fewer comments about the high risk of a massive oil spill. It’s pretty clear that the oil companies are willing to embrace massive risk and are willing to overlook safety when racing to exploit this massive resource. Look no farther than the series of errors committed by Shell in their first season in the Arctic: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/magazine/the-wreck-of-the-kulluk.html?_r=0

    Imagine for a momement the added difficulty of drilling in the Arctic Ocean given its notorius weather and changing conditions. Add the remoteness. Imagine for a moment a blowout and spill on par with the BP Gulf accident a few years back. That spill at least had dozens of nearby ports, airports, and people to mobilize in addressing the spill. Imagine the difficulty and length of that BP response and magnify it a hundredfold. Thats the difficulty of responding in the Arctic. Offshore drilling there is a high form of crazy, only possible for an addict.

  • Jeff March 11, 2015 (12:46 am)

    The protesters… certainly entitled to speak their minds, of course, but their hypocrisy is huge.

  • Bill March 11, 2015 (8:52 am)

    Jeff… I think you would find that most of the citizens speaking against this lease have made many changes in their lives to use less oil. That’s my experience having been part of the environmental community in Seattle. Driving an effiencient car, driving less, using transit, riding bikes, eating local, gardening, insulating their house, installing solar, using less water… there is a huge amount of this effort in Seattle.

    It’s almost impossible to divorce oneself entirely from fossil fuel use in our culture. Our infrastructure and transportation systems are based on the assumption that people use these fuels. All these citizens speaking against Shell still use oil in some way yes… but if every citizen drove down their use by 30-50% we would be having a different discussion. These citizens are asking that governments make decisions at the local, state, and federal level that move us off fossil fuels now. Citizens can only do so much, we need coordinated effort by our governments to get us off fossil fuels.

  • twicksea March 11, 2015 (11:50 am)

    As always, Tracy, you and the WSB provide the most comprehensive, objective and timely coverage in town. Thank you. And thanks to everyone who took time off work to attend and speak out on this issue. And Bill, I really appreciate your comments above.

  • Penny Cash March 11, 2015 (2:28 pm)

    this is WONDERFUL REPORTING…best coverage of the event I’ve seen….who wrote this and took the pictures and wrote down or recorded all this…EXCELLENT REPORTING, would like to thank you individually

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