(May photo by Long Bach Nguyen: Shell’s Polar Pioneer at T-5)
Two days after Shell‘s announcement that its offshore-drilling attempts in the Arctic are over TFN, a decision on a related West Seattle issue is in, though it might be a moot point:
That document spells out how the city Hearing Examiner’s Office has just ruled against the city Department of Planning and Development‘s contention back in May that the Port of Seattle would need a different set of permits to allow Shell’s offshore-drilling fleet to use West Seattle’s Terminal 5.
The fleet had done just that earlier this year, you’ll recall, despite DPD’s contention, which Shell, the Port, and T-5 leaseholder Foss had challenged, with the port calling it “irrational.”
Mayor Murray says he’s “disappointed” but adds that the city will not challenge the ruling by deputy Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe, who listened to arguments over five days this summer; documents were still being posted to the voluminous online case file as recently as last week.
But Earthjustice, representing four environmental groups supporting the DPD decision, says it might appeal the Hearing Examiner’s ruling. Its managing attorney Patti Goldman is quoted in a news release as saying, “The City got it right when it decided a massive drill rig is not a cargo ship and a homeport for Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet is not a cargo terminal.”
So far, Shell has not said where its rigs are headed after pulling out of the Arctic Ocean. Foss spokesperson Paul Queary told us on Monday that some items remained at T-5 to be picked up, and that fleet-related vessels had some cargo offloading to be done … but whether that would happen here remained to be seen.