Port of Seattle 95 results

Shell @ Terminal 5: County says it can’t access the sewer system on-site for wastewater; city appeal-hearing date set

(UPDATED 2:16 PM with additional new information regarding appeal of city ‘interpretation’ re: Polar Pioneer mooring)

(May 15th photo of Polar Pioneer at T-5, by Long Bach Nguyen)

ORIGINAL 12:46 PM REPORT: Just in from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division:

King County’s Industrial Waste Program today denied a permit application for discharge of wastewater from the Alaska Venture Shell Facility at Terminal 5 into the County’s regional sewer system.

“Everyone has to follow the rules, even multinational corporations,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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Shell @ Terminal 5: City issues ‘notice of violation’ telling Foss, Port, Shell to move Polar Pioneer or get a new permit for it

The protests are over for now, but the bureaucratic and legal fight over Shell drilling rigs mooring at the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 is not. The latest move, five days after the arrival of the Polar Pioneer drilling platform, is in the document above that we just obtained from the city Department of Planning and Development – its “notice of violation” issued to the Port of Seattle, interim leaseholder Foss Maritime, and “occupant” Shell Oil, contending that the current “use (is) not established by permit.” The notice gives the entities until June 4th to correct the alleged violation by either moving the Polar Pioneer and the Shell icecutter/tug Aiviq from T-5, or get a new permit allowing them.

(Friday photo by Paul Weatherman: Aiviq and Polar Pioneer @ T-5)
You’ll recall that this started with a city “interpretation” saying that the established permitted use of Terminal 5 does not allow for this; both the Port and Foss have filed appeals to that contention – the one filed at the end of last week by the Port calls it “irrational” and suggests that, taken to its logical conclusion, it would bar a variety of other types of vessels from using Port docks. (No date yet on the Hearing Examiner’s calendar for the appeal hearing.) We’ll be seeking comment from all three recipients.

UPDATE: Anti-Shell protest wraps up after Terminal 5 departure

1:57 PM: The anti-Shell protest at Terminal 5 is wrapping up; demonstrators are walking back toward the low bridge to cross it on the way back to this morning’s starting point.

2:14 PM: The SDOT camera overlooking the low bridge showed the group as it crossed a few minutes ago:

TV helicopters are back overhead to capture the scene, but aren’t likely to stay nearly as long, since it’s not newscast time, unlike this morning.

2:47 PM: The bridge is open again and demonstrators are back at the starting point. We covered the morning march in our daily traffic watch; here are a few more photos from the day and video from the T-5 arrival:

As our images show, Seattle Police had a sizable presence at many spots along the way and near the demonstration; there’s been no word of any arrests. This was the line at the T-5 entrance just before the march arrived:

And here’s our video of their arrival:

This was the last of the major demonstrations/rallies announced before the Polar Pioneer‘s arrival last Thursday. At last report, it’s still scheduled to be joined at T-5 by Shell’s other drilling vessel, the drillship Noble Discoverer, which is docked in Everett. The city’s contention that the Port needs a different permit to host oil rigs, which has been formally appealed by both interim-leaseholder Foss Maritime and the port itself, remains unresolved.

PHOTOS: Protest ‘flotilla’ gathers in Elliott Bay, then near Polar Pioneer

(UPDATED 9:54 PM with added photos – scroll down)

2:02 PM: That’s just one section of the anti-Arctic-offshore-drilling “flotilla” that’s amassed in Elliott Bay this afternoon. Even if you haven’t been down by the water, you’ve probably noticed the helicopter flyover, circling North Admiral to the bay and back. Hundreds of people with kayaks and canoes started arriving before 9 am, organizing in groups along the Harbor Avenue shore; the traffic peaked a couple hours ago but will pick up again when this is over in late afternoon. An onshore program is scheduled at Jack Block Park, where this portable video sign has been showing a live feed of the kayakers, as well as this logo:

A barge off Seacrest, dubbed “The People’s Platform,” is expected to be showing “projections” in the evening. Here’s an aerial we just received from local photographer/pilot Long Bach Nguyen:

Meantime, on sea and land, police have been very conspicuously in view, from this bicycle pedal-by …

… to a patrol boat on the water and two mast-equipped command vehicles parked with an overview of JB Park and Terminal 5:

T-5 is where the drill platform Polar Pioneer has been docked since Thursday, but no word of any arrests or clashes. The date for today’s protest, as well as a demonstration on land Monday, was announced weeks ago, even before it was known when the PP would arrive; the drillship Noble Discoverer, which Shell also expects to use in the Arctic, remained docked in Everett at last report.

2:10 PM: Our crew at Jack Block says the flotilla participants are paddling by now, getting closer to the Polar Pioneer:

From our partners at The Seattle Times, via Twitter:

2:56 PM: Our crew says the flotilla is heading back out of the Duwamish River (Terminal 5 is at its mouth) and toward Jack Block Park.

3:25 PM: What was supposed to be a program of speakers at Jack Block scheduled for around 2 pm hasn’t started yet. So if you’re trying to keep track of when the outbound traffic might start in the area – all bets are off.

4:43 PM: Big outbound traffic as of about 4 pm, us included. More photos later.

ADDED 9:54 PM: As promised – more photos of the sights from and near Jack Block Park over the course of the day, now that we’ve had time to go through what we have – starting with Native canoes that joined the flotilla:

Part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s presence:

One person we recognized in the flotilla – Sustainable West Seattle co-founder Bill Reiswig:

One other view, for geographic context – Long B. Nguyen shot this in the early going today – it shows where Polar Pioneer is, in relation to Jack Block Park (Seacrest is not far off the right edge of the image, which you can click for a larger view):


While this has been promoted as a three-day “Festival of Resistance,” we don’t know of anything tomorrow; Monday morning is the on-land demonstration near the low bridge, scheduled to start around 7 am – so it could affect the morning commute – our most recent mention is here.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Port of Seattle files its appeal of city ‘interpretation,’ calling it ‘irrational’

“Irrational” is one word the Port of Seattle is using to describe the city Department of Planning and Development interpretation suggesting Shell oil rigs can’t use Terminal 5 without a new permit. That’s part of what the port argues in its official appeal of the interpretation, which we found in the city Hearing Examiner‘s files, hours after it was posted there late Friday:

The filing came 24 hours after Shell’s platform Polar Pioneer arrived at Terminal 5 – where it was photographed from the air on Friday by West Seattle photographer/pilot Long Bach Nguyen:

And it came three days after a 5-hour Port Commission meeting ended with two motions passed, the second of which directed port staff to file an appeal (WSB coverage here). The port tenant that’s hosting Shell, Foss Maritime, has already filed its appeal, as first reported here hours after that meeting. The verbiage in the port’s document is notably sharper, especially in its opening assertion that “the effect of the interpretation, if affirmed on appeal, will be to make unlawful the moorage of many different kinds of vessels, including … tugboats … marine-construction vessels … cruise vessels … icebreakers … ships of state … research vessels … diving vessels … oil-spill-response vessels … seismic vessels … Seattle Fire Department fireboats.”

The appeal later also suggests that since the port is a steward of its marine environment and that hosting many different types of vessels is a key component of that, the appeal could be environmentally damaging and therefore is subject to review under the State Environmental Policy Act. Appeals typically will go before the Hearing Examiner, but usually not for a few months until their filing; we’re not seeing a date on the docket yet. Meantime, the city told WSB on Wednesday that the appeal process wouldn’t keep it from citing the port if it chose to.

Shell @ Terminal 5: What you need to know about Saturday & Monday protests – what’s happening where and when

(Photo by Paul Weatherman)
The Shell drill rig Polar Pioneer has been at Terminal 5 in West Seattle for a day. What had been announced as a “Festival of Resistance” long before its arrival date was known is about to begin. Last night, “kayaktivists” trained in West Seattle waters one last time before the planned protests:

(WSB photo, Thursday night)
Here’s the timeline they have circulated:

SATURDAY
10 am-4:30 pm
Main event: Protest on the water – described by organizers as “Seattle residents, national environmental organizations and local grassroots groups will join a peaceful kayak flotilla in Elliot Bay to protest Shell’s Arctic drilling plans and its contribution to climate change.” Seacrest is listed as the main location for gathering, with later events at Jack Block Park per this timeline:

10 AM – Kayak Check-In and registration begins
11-12:30 Launch Boats
1 PM – On-water procession begins
2 PM – On-stage program begins at Jack Block Park: 2130 Harbor Ave SW
3:30 PM – On-stage program ends and all vessels return to launch sites.

Organizers say larger boats and canoes will launch from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, so that will be busy as well. The canoes will be part of an Idle No More Native-organized companion demonstration; its timeline is in this Facebook event.

(WSB photo, Thursday night)
SUNDAY
While this has been billed as a three-day “Festival of Resistance,” no specific events are announced so far for Sunday – good thing, considering the West Seattle 5K takes up the morning and Alki Avenue will be closed to vehicles.

MONDAY
7 am- ?
Protesters plan to gather by the fishing pier off the east end of the low bridge, and walk from there to “march to Shell’s rigs and nonviolently shut down operations for the day.” We asked the Port of Seattle earlier in the week about any changes it expected for the day. They told us today they had sent this notice to their tenants:

Please be informed that a protest is planned for 7am, Monday May 18, starting near the Spokane St. Fishing Bridge. Their intent, based on the event description, is to block access to our terminals. Both our police and SPD expect a large contingent of protestors. Impacts are expected to be significant. Please plan your morning accordingly. If you experience any problems, or feel you are in danger, please call 911. We are urging protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully, safely and legally in areas adjacent to our terminals.

Terminal 18’s operator, meantime, has decided to close for the day; SSA sent this notice out, according to the port:

TERMINAL 18 & MATSON – CLOSED ON MONDAY, MAY 18

We have been notified by local authorities that there will be significant protest activity in the area on Monday, May 18, 2015 related to Shell Oil Company and their activities at Terminal 5 in Seattle.

The Shell protesters have indicated that they intend to occupy Harbor Island as part of the protest. For the safety of our employees and all others who conduct business at T18 the decision has been made to close on Monday, May 18. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 19 at 0700.

We asked Seattle Police on Thursday if they had anything they want people to know regarding Saturday and Monday. Short answer, no, though they had a big briefing on Thursday morning. They intend to maintain their jurisdictions, SPD told us, and that includes the US Coast Guard enforcing “safety zones” on the water. We will of course be covering this as it happens, so if you’re not participating or spectating, at least check in to see what’s up down by the water.

UPDATE: Shell drill rig Polar Pioneer arrives in West Seattle

(Added: Photo by Admiral 935, looking north on California SW as PP passed)
1:29 PM: We’re launching as-it-happens coverage now that the Polar Pioneer is close to Seattle – destination: West Seattle’s Terminal 5 – and media as well as spectators are getting in place. We’re starting at Seacrest, where TV crews are converging, as well as some drilling opponents who say they plan to “unwelcome” PP; they’ve put up red “warning” flags on the pier and some kayakers are in the water.

Also spotted: City Councilmember Mike O’Brien:

Meantime, after slowing to a near-stop for a while across the Sound from Shoreline, Polar Pioneer and its accompanying vessels are on the move again. Updates to come.

1:39 PM: Texter says it’s in view in the distance from Alki Point. We’re setting up near Anchor/Luna Park to see it when it rounds the bend. Photos? editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

1:47 PM: Visible now coming up to West Point. (Added)

(Photo by Gary Jones, taken from Alki Point as Polar Pioneer passed West Point)

Kayakers are off Duwamish Head. As mentioned in our earlier coverage when it left Port Angeles around 1:30 am, the rig has four Foss vessels with it – Andrew Foss, Garth Foss, Lindsey Foss, and Pacific Star – and, since then, has added three Coast Guard vessels.

2 PM: A police boat has taken up position near the navigation marker off Duwamish Head. The kayakers are still floating just offshore. (added) The police boat came over for a closer look at them:

2:25 PM: It’s in Elliott Bay now, traveling at 7 knots, 13 hours after leaving Port Angeles. Meantime, that’s NOT a TV helicopter circling over us on the Duwamish Head shore, that’s Guardian One.

3:01 PM: We’ve been on Twitter (and live on Periscope) for the past half-hour as the Polar Pioneer passed Duwamish Head. Lots of spectators.

Helicopters overhead, kayakers, Coast Guard, other vessels on the water.

3:16 PM: Co-publisher Patrick Sand has headed east/southeast to Don Armeni, where a protest sign is about to be hoisted or floated. He sent this photo:

(added) Here’s what it looked like – yes, it was tethered:

(added) Chief Seattle’s great-great-grand niece, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen, watched with her daughter from Jack Block Park. Thanks to Ann Anderson for this photo:

Ann also shared this one, in which you can see a tribal canoe out with the group on the water:

Speaking of sending photos, thanks to everyone who’s done that – just starting to check them. Polar Pioneer remains stopped in the bay.

3:44 PM: It’s on the move again, heading south, toward the port. We’ll see if it goes all the way to T-5, where, as we reported yesterday, the city says it would be in violation of the Port’s permit and could be cited.

4:36 PM: Kevin‘s tweeted photo shows the Polar Pioneer as it rounded the bend and headed into the mouth of the Duwamish River, where it’s arrived at T-5:

We’re back at HQ right now getting ready for some evening coverage (unrelated) and will be adding more photos.

(Thanks to Scott for this view from Riverside, looking toward the “low bridge”)
5:08 PM: For some, seeing it might be their first word about all this – we were reminded of that by a phone call. Same way that the shutdown of T-5 last summer surprised some who didn’t make the connection until they saw the vast, empty stretch. But no, it’s NOT here to drill in local waters. It’s scheduled to stay here for a matter of weeks before leaving for the offshore Arctic drilling for which Shell recently won a key federal approval. But first – opponents are continuing with their plans for a “festival of resistance” this Thursday through Saturday. We talked today with Seattle Police to ask about their plans; they acknowledged a briefing this morning but said that on the water it’s Coast Guard jurisdiction, on port land it’s Port Police jurisdiction – they’re just standing by to see if anything happens outside those two areas. We are awaiting the port’s answer to our questions about whether they are planning any different access policies at Jack Block, for example. Meantime – it’s been three months since the Port’s CEO announced the signing of the lease with Foss, which said it in turn had a deal to bring the Shell vessels here.

ADDED EARLY FRIDAY: David Hutchinson photographed the Polar Pioneer, docked, with the latest “kayaktivist training” class, which had headed out from Seacrest earlier in the evening.

That was billed as the last training class before Saturday’s long-scheduled on-the-water protest. More on that later today.

FOLLOWUP: Shell oil rig Polar Pioneer now on its way here

(SCROLL DOWN for updates)

(Thanks again to Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce for permission to publish webcam images these past few weeks)
2:19 AM: As expected, the Shell oil drilling platform Polar Pioneer has left Port Angeles, headed for West Seattle’s Terminal 5, despite the city interpretation that it shouldn’t be docked there under terms of the Port of Seattle‘s current permit (previous update here). We noticed it on the move just after 1:30 am, via MarineTraffic.com, and just after 2 am, as shown in the screengrab above (in which PP is in the distance at right, the ferry Coho docked at left), the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam showed it heading eastward. Accompanying it right now, all at about 6 knots, are four Foss vessels (fleet info here): 106-foot Andrew Foss, 155-foot Garth Foss, 155-foot Lindsey Foss, and 98-foot Pacific Star. We’ll be updating as they approach. This chart we found puts T-5 about 70 nautical miles from Port Angeles.

SIDE NOTE: Almost exactly four years ago, all eyes were on another platform arriving in West Seattle waters, the SBX (Sea-Based X-Band Radar), which came in under its own power late May 10th, 2011, for work at Vigor. Polar Pioneer is considerably taller – 25 percent taller, we noted here last month.

7:33 AM: The Polar Pioneer and accompanying vessels are about to pass Port Townsend, at about 3.5 knots. That’s about halfway between here and where they started six hours ago.

9:09 AM: Thanks to Jason Mihok for sending the photo above, as the vessels passed PT. MarineTraffic.com now shows the USCG vessel Osprey right behind them.

NOON: Now three Coast Guard vessels are following the Polar Pioneer and the four Foss tugs; they’re now in the Kingston vicinity, per MT.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Polar Pioneer expected here Thursday; city ‘could issue a notice of violation’

(May 4th image courtesy Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam)
4:59 PM: While the oil-drilling platform Polar Pioneer is no longer in view on the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce’s webcam, it’s still in the PA harbor – but apparently not for long. The Peninsula Daily News reports that the Polar Pioneer will be towed to West Seattle’s Terminal 5 tomorrow. That, despite the city Department of Planning and Development declaring that mooring Shell’s rigs at T-5 is not covered in the Port’s existing permits, and despite the Port Commission’s vote yesterday afternoon (WSB coverage here) to formally inform T-5 interim tenant Foss of that. Foss, meantime, as reported here last night, has filed its appeal of the DPD “interpretation”:

The Port Commission, as also noted in our Tuesday report, voted to appeal the ruling of the DPD, whose director Diane Sugimura answered questions at yesterday’s meeting. Meantime, Foss also expects Shell’s drillship Noble Discoverer, now starting its second day docked in Everett, to move on to T-5. And Arctic-drilling opponents are continuing to plan for an on-the-water protest Saturday plus one on land Monday.

6:11 PM UPDATE: Wondering what the city might do if the Shell rigs really do show up despite the DPD interpretation? We sent that question to Mayor Ed Murray‘s office. The reply:

The mayor expects the Port to have the proper permits in place before an off-shore oil drilling rig comes to Terminal 5. The Port Commission is also on record saying a rig should not come to Elliott Bay before the proper permits are in place.

Should Shell bring the rigs to Terminal 5 before the appropriate permits are in place, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will evaluate the situation and could issue a notice of violation. There are monetary penalties associated with operating without the necessary permits. … Foss and the Port have said they intend to file an appeal. Even after an appeal is filed, the City is not prevented from moving ahead with enforcement actions.

1:42 AM THURSDAY: We’ve been checking MarineTraffic.com all night and it looks like Polar Pioneer and its accompanying tugs are finally headed out of Port Angeles, as of minutes ago.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 75 speak during Port Commission’s first all-T-5/Shell meeting; commissioners pass two motions

(9:44 PM UPDATE: Foss’s appeal document added, after coverage of 75 speakers at Port Commission meeting, followed by commissioners passing both motions – as Shell drillship Noble Discoverer arrived in Everett)

12:58 PM: Just as Seattle port commissioners are about to start their meeting on the controversial Terminal 5 lease to Foss/Shell, we received that photo of one of the Shell offshore-drilling rigs that is expected to wind up here for a while: The Noble Discoverer, which, as we reported earlier, entered Washington waters early today. Jason Mihok photographed the ND (and Foss tugs) as they passed Port Townsend – he was on board the Victoria Clipper. Meantime, we’re at Pier 69 (steps from the Clipper’s HQ, in fact), where the commission chambers are overflowing – we in fact are sitting on the floor in the back of the room. We’ll be chronicling the meeting as it unfolds.

1:05 PM: The meeting has begun. Commissioner Stephanie Bowman is leading it; her co-president Courtney Gregoire is absent “for health reasons.” Bowman urges civility, saying her 70-year-old mom is in the front row so if you’re rude to the commission, you’re rude to her mom. This will start with public comment, and #1 is the one elected official Bowman has mentioned as being here – Alaska State Senator Cathy Giessel, who chairs the Senate’s Resources Committee and “the special committee on the Arctic.” She urges the commission to “stand firm” on the lease with Foss/Shell.

#2 – a speaker who says he’s from a faith-based community: “Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing … It is my hope and prayer that this commission will … find a sustainable path leading to the right side of history.” Drilling in the Arctic “is not on the right side of history,” he continues.

#3 – Anthony Edwardson from Barrow, AK, chair of Arctic Inupiat Offshore, “asking the commission to honor (the lease). … We have partnered with Shell to be sure they do right in our waters.”

#4 – Mohawk, a speaker who urges the commission to “follow the Seattle city laws” in terms of the DPD interpretation that said the drilling vessels’ docking is not allowed under existing port permits.

#5 – Hugh, who also has come from Alaska, “imploring you to understand the far-reaching effects of your decision to our communities on the North Slope.” He too chairs an Alaska Native corporation, he says. “The environmental community doesn’t have a plan for our people. … We are the people of the Arctic – we live it, day by day. They would like to place us in a diorama in a museum.”

#6 – John Hobson from Wainwright, Alaska; he and we believe all of the Alaskan Natives who have spoken so far spoke to the Seattle City Council yesterday as it considered its resolution opposing drilling and asking the Port Commission to reconsider the T-5 lease. “There are people involved who want the same things you have -” like education and sanitation. “We want to impress on you that the Arctic isn’t just a place of polar bears.”

#7 – Stu Yarfitz. He is a Seattle resident who says he has two questions: How will the commission respond if the city DPD issues a stop-work order? And he asks about Terminal 5’s future – why is the modernization work not happening now, when that was the reason it closed last year?

/AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE CONTINUES/ – click ahead if reading this from WSB home page)Read More

FOLLOWUP: Shell drillship Noble Discoverer now in WA waters; Port Commission meeting details now public

Hours after federal approval of Shell‘s Arctic offshore-drilling plan, and hours before the Seattle Port Commission‘s public meeting about the Terminal 5/Foss/Shell lease, one of Shell’s two designated drill rigs entered Washington waters. We reported Sunday night that the drillship Noble Discoverer had done a turnaround off the Washington coast and went out of tracking range; early this morning, it reappeared, and entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s still headed for Everett first, Shell told The Seattle Times (WSB partner), also saying the other designated driller, Polar Pioneer, is to be towed this week to T-5 from Port Angeles (where it remains visible on webcam as of this writing). (June 2012 photo of Noble Discoverer by Long Bach Nguyen)

As for the Port Commission’s meeting this afternoon, the agenda details finally have been added. They include two potential motions: The first one comes down to, the port can’t/won’t do anything about the city interpretation disallowing the drill rigs until “if and when this code interpretation is deemed a final decision by the City of Seattle.” (The way the Hearing Examiner process works, that usually takes months.) The second one seeks to have the port appeal the city interpretation too. Today’s meeting is set to start at 1 pm at port HQ at Pier 69 on the downtown waterfront and will start with a public-comment period.

9:04 AM: The Noble Discoverer is just now passing Port Angeles.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Pivotal week begins with federal approval of Arctic offshore-drilling plan; City Council resolution passage

(Monday midday image from Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam, republished with permission)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:18 PM: In our update last night on the events surrounding the plan for Shell to bring its Arctic-offshore-drilling rigs (including Polar Pioneer, above, still in Port Angeles) to Terminal 5 in West Seattle, we described this as a “pivotal week.” And since that update last night, it’s become even more so: This morning, the federal government issued its approval for Shell’s revised plan to drill six wells in the Chukchi Sea this summer – read the announcement here. This comes just before the City Council is scheduled to vote during its 2 pm meeting today on this resolution expressing opposition to Arctic offshore drilling and asking the Port of Seattle to reconsider its lease with Foss bringing Shell vessels to T-5. (The Port Commission‘s meeting on lease-related issues is at 1 pm tomorrow.) Representing a coalition of anti-drilling groups, Earthjustice has reacted by saying, “The project Interior approved today is bigger, dirtier, and louder than any previous plan, calling for more sound disturbances and harassment of whales and seals, more water and air pollution, and more vessels and helicopters. It also runs the risk of a catastrophic oil spill that could not be cleaned in Arctic waters.”

3:33 PM UPDATE: The City Council passed the aforementioned resolution unanimously. City Councilmember Mike O’Brien said it’s not possible to just abruptly stop using oil, but “a just transition” must be worked on; Councilmember Kshama Sawant, whose amendment to the resolution also won unanimous approval, said that while the jobs created by the drilling-related work are important, the more important issue is that of oil executives’ profits – she accused them of “hoodwinking” people into thinking it’s the environment vs. jobs. And Councilmember Nick Licata said the environment is “changing rapidly” and a resolution like this is a “small step” toward action to try to slow that rate of change. The comment period before their deliberation and vote included Alaskan Natives who had come from areas close to the prospective drilling zone to express their support for Shell.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Drillship turnaround, at start of pivotal week

May 10, 2015 7:41 pm
|    Comments Off on Shell @ Terminal 5: Drillship turnaround, at start of pivotal week
 |   Environment | Port of Seattle | West Seattle news

This week promises to be pivotal in the ongoing controversy over and scrutiny of the plan for two Shell-leased drill rigs to come to the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle before heading to the Arctic Ocean.

One of those rigs, the drillship Noble Discoverer, took an unexpected – at least to observers – turn this weekend.

As noted here Thursday, Noble Discoverer is expected to stop in Everett this week. Foss Maritime has indicated that the city of Seattle’s suggestion that it’s not coming here is inaccurate, so the expectation is that it would then proceed to T-5.

We’ve been checking online vessel tracker MarineTraffic.com relatively often for any signs of the drillship coming into range – it was last “seen” by tracking signal when it was off Honolulu two weeks ago (at which time, it’s since been revealed, it failed a Coast Guard inspection).

Looking at MT very early this morning, we noticed Noble Discoverer had been in tracking range for a while starting Saturday morning, approaching the entrance to the Strait of Juan De Fuca – but then disappeared from tracking. Almost concurrently, we received a note from Robert, pointing to this online observation with a few more specifics, showing that the ship had turned around and gone back out of tracking range. Here’s what MT’s records show:

MT tracking doesn’t pick up until relatively close to the coast, so we don’t know quite where the drillship is now – just that it’s out of range, shown as having been last “seen” at 2:43 am today (our time) sailing away from the Washington coast, about 18 hours after it had become visible while sailing toward it.

Meantime, Shell’s other drill rig, the platform Polar Pioneer, has now spent three weeks in Port Angeles (where this webcam points toward it around the clock); here in Seattle, the Port Commission takes up the T-5 lease/city interpretation situation in public session Tuesday afternoon, and opponents of offshore Arctic drilling plan a series of protests here in (and off) West Seattle starting later in the week, culminating in an early-morning march from Harbor Island to T-5 one week from tomorrow .

Shell @ Terminal 5: Agenda out for Port Commission’s T-5 meeting; Foss appealing city permit ‘interpretation’

May 8, 2015 12:24 pm
|    Comments Off on Shell @ Terminal 5: Agenda out for Port Commission’s T-5 meeting; Foss appealing city permit ‘interpretation’
 |   Port of Seattle | West Seattle news

(UPDATED 3:33 PM, adding Foss statement on intent to appeal city DPD ‘interpretation’)

(Polar Pioneer in Port Angeles this afternoon; webcam image used with permission of PA Chamber of Commerce)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:24 PM: As reported here Thursday, the Port of Seattle Commission plans to discuss in public session on Tuesday what it will do about the city’s declaration that the port has to apply for a new permit to use West Seattle’s Terminal 5 for Shell’s offshore-Arctic-drilling vessels. The commission’s agenda for Tuesday meetings usually is posted by Thursday afternoon but didn’t appear on the port website until a short time ago. The T-5 lease situation is the only item on the 1 pm public agenda:

The city Department of Planning and Development’s “interpretation” of the need for a new permit was announced by the mayor on Monday; it was published on the city website yesterday, and our report also includes an open letter from Foss and local unions to the mayor, contending this action will be damaging to the city’s maritime industry. Meantime, the Polar Pioneer platform remains anchored in Port Angeles; the Noble Discoverer drillship is expected in Everett next week; and two Shell-related vessels, Aiviq and Harvey Champion, are at T-5 right now. And a Shell executive was quoted earlier this week as saying the city ruling wouldn’t impede their Arctic-drilling plan.

ADDED 3:33 PM: Foss Maritime has announced it plans to appeal the DPD interpretation, and that it intends to go ahead with bringing Shell’s oil rigs here during the time it takes to resolve the appeal:

Foss Maritime plans to appeal the city of Seattle’s determination that Foss’s use of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 is not allowed under the Port’s existing use permit.

The appeal process will take months to complete. In the meantime, Foss intends to provide its customer, Royal Dutch Shell, the services for which it contracted over the next few weeks as it prepares for the summer oil exploration season in Alaska.

The city’s position is not supported by the plain language of the permit at issue, and will cause long-term harm to the maritime industry as a whole. The permit for Terminal 5 allows Port customers to tie up vessels so that goods and cargo can be stored, loaded and unloaded, which is precisely what Foss is doing at Terminal 5.

By taking this action so late in the day, Mayor Ed Murray is trying to stop a lawful project that has already put 417 people to work full-time and will soon employ hundreds more, many of them citizens of Seattle. Worse, he has openly solicited the Port of Seattle to use the city’s action as a pretext to break a valid lease at Terminal 5, despite the separately elected Port Commission’s recent unanimous vote to uphold the lease.

These actions are an attempt to prevent one of the city’s oldest and most prominent companies from performing marine services that it has provided and the Port has welcomed for generations. This action is akin to the mayor ordering Seattle City Light to cut off all electricity to Amazon on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

If his actions simply impacted Foss, that would be bad enough. But it jeopardizes many other business activities across the waterfront, and calls into question the sincerity of the mayor’s previous statements in support of the maritime sector.

For example, under the city’s initial determination, Alaska fishing trawlers would not be allowed to winter over at the cruise ship docks at Terminals 90 and 91; the Seattle Fire Department’s fire boats could not dock at Terminals 90 and 91 as they are currently doing; and the vessels of the U.S. Navy and other navies that visit during Seafair would not be allowed to tie up at Port facilities. Maritime businesses from Ballard to South Park are doubtless nervously checking their permits and wondering whether the mayor will deem them worthy.

Foss believes that the permitting at Terminal 5 is appropriate for our use, and that the city’s determination is a statement of politics rather than policy. Accordingly, we will challenge it through the appropriate channels. The process looks like this:

* Foss will appeal the determination to the Seattle Hearing Examiner within 14 days. Other interested parties, such as the Port, may join in the appeal.

* The hearing examiner will then set a hearing date on the matter.

* The hearing examiner would typically produce a ruling on the matter within 15 days after the hearing.

* Under normal circumstances, the city would not issue a violation to Foss or the Port of Seattle until and unless it prevailed in the hearing.

Shell’s Arctic-drilling vessels at Terminal 5: Port Commission to discuss Tuesday; ‘open letter’ to mayor; and other updates

(UPDATED 11:52 AM: Added ‘open letter’ to mayor)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:48 AM: The latest developments in the Terminal 5/Foss/Shell situation:

INTERPRETATION OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED: Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin will include official publication of the city Department of Planning and Development interpretation saying the Port of Seattle needs a new permit before Shell drilling vessels can come to T-5, announced earlier this week (read the interpretation in our Monday report). The notice offers a two-week period for appeals. Will the Port appeal, or apply for a permit, or … ? We’re checking. (Added 7:12 am: Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB, “The Commission will be taking the matter up in public session next Tuesday.” Agenda out later today.)

DRILLSHIP STATUS: As noted Monday, the interpretation said the drillship Noble Discoverer is not expected to moor at T-5.

(Photo of Noble Discoverer’s April 2012 Seattle arrival by Ilona Berzups)
But it is due in Everett next week, MyEverettNews.com reports. MEN quotes a Port of Everett spokesperson as saying “the Noble Discoverer is scheduled to make a brief stop in Everett next week to load/unload cargo.” And it’s now been revealed that while the ND was in Hawaii late last month, it had to make repairs to “the device that separates oil from the water in its bilges,” VICE News reported on Wednesday, quoting a US Coast Guard spokesperson. That part of the drillship also was implicated in the troubles that led to millions in fines after it left West Seattle and headed to the Arctic in 2012. VICE quotes a Shell spokesperson as saying this new development is nothing more than “mechanical repairs, which from time to time are required on any equipment.”

THE REST OF THE FLEET: The platform Polar Pioneer is still in Port Angeles; checking MarineTraffic.com while writing this story, Aiviq and Harvey Champion are currently docked at Terminal 5.

MAYOR’S DEFENSE: As we reported via Twitter while covering Mayor Murray’s Beacon Hill event announcing the revised transportation levy, he ended by turning to the T-5/Shell controversy. What he said seemed to be a response to the Foss statement on Monday; Murray contended that the city has been and continues to be an ally to the maritime industry and that this one “disagreement” shouldn’t “obscure” that.

ADDED 11:52 AM – OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR: This letter sent to the mayor takes issue with that:

UPDATE: City says new permit needed before Shell can use West Seattle’s Terminal 5 for Arctic-drilling vessels; Foss ‘intends to continue work’

11:46 AM: Just in from the city Department of Planning and Development, that’s the document we’ve been waiting to see, ever since hearing that Mayor Murray told a breakfast meeting this morning that the city would tell the Port of Seattle that new permits would be needed for Shell’s Arctic-drilling vessels to dock at West Seattle’s Terminal 5. We’re reading the document now but note one item of interest early on:

(Monday afternoon image courtesy Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam)
The city says the port indicates only the drilling platform Polar Pioneer would be mooring here, with “two tugboats,” not the drillship Noble Discoverer as well, as had been previously believed.

The interpretation released today is the result of the city investigation announced almost two months ago. (Updated) The mayor has now released this statement:

To prevent the full force of climate change, it’s time to turn the page on things like coal trains, oil trains and oil drilling rigs. It’s time to focus on the economy of the future: electric cars and transit, green homes and environmentally progressive businesses. I expect the port to obtain all required city permits before any moorage or work begins at T5 on off-shore oil drilling equipment. While requiring a new permit may not stop the port’s plans, it does give the port an opportunity to pause and rethink this issue. I urge the port to consider, is this really the right use of Terminal 5, even for the short term? Does this use reflect the businesses of the future we want in Seattle? This is an opportunity for the port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters – and reject this short-term lease.

The port has not yet commented; when we contacted spokesperson Peter McGraw earlier this morning, he replied, “We have not received the interpretation yet. When we do, we will review it and provide a response.”

Meantime, EarthJustice, leading a lawsuit that challenged the Port granting a lease to Foss Maritime for hosting Shell vessels, sent this statement:

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced that the Seattle Department of Planning and Development’s investigation showed the Port of Seattle cannot use Terminal 5 as a homeport for Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet under its current permit. The Port is in violation of its twenty-year-old shoreline permit issued by the City.

On March 2 in King County Superior Court, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, The Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, and Seattle Audubon Society. That legal challenge details the Port’s circumvention of public process and violation of the State Environmental Policy Act. The City’s decision today is consistent with our argument that Shell’s use of Terminal 5 is a change from the Terminal’s historical use as a cargo terminal and requires environmental review and the issuance of new permits.

“We applaud the Mayor’s office and the City of Seattle for prioritizing this investigation and reaching a conclusion consistent with the law and the public’s interest in full participation,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Patti Goldman. “We urge the Port of Seattle’s commissioners to take the Mayor’s invitation to use this opportunity to reevaluate the Port’s priorities and to reject Shell’s use of Seattle’s waters as a homeport for its harmful Arctic drilling operations.”

As we’ve been reporting, Shell’s already had one vessel at Terminal 5, the icecutter Aiviq, which is there right now, (updated) as is another support ship, the Harvey Supporter. The Polar Pioneer has been in Port Angeles for two weeks (with this PA Chamber of Commerce webcam focused on it), being prepared for a tow here. We’ll be adding more as we read the DPD document and as other reaction comes in.

ADDED 1:13 PM: Foss says it’s carrying on, considering this “a dispute between the city and the port”:

Foss Maritime has a lease with the Port of Seattle to operate a portion of Terminal 5. During the negotiation of that lease, Foss had extensive discussions of its planned activities there, including the moorage of the Polar Pioneer and other vessels.

Port management agreed that those activities were allowed under Terminal 5’s existing permit, which was issued by the city in the 1990s, so Foss entered into the lease in good faith.

On Monday morning, Mayor Ed Murray suggested that the activity is not consistent with the permit. This is a dispute between the city and the port. Foss intends to continue work at Terminal 5 under our lease with the Port regardless of the mayor’s comments.

The Mayor’s action also raises grave concerns about his stated commitment to Seattle’s thriving maritime community. By giving a small but vocal group the ability to jeopardize the commercial relationships between our local maritime businesses and the Port of Seattle, the Mayor is casting serious doubt on the future of the city’s working waterfront.

ADDED 4:58 PM: The mayor has published something of a rebuttal to that last paragraph.

Councilmember O’Brien visits West Seattle for ‘kayaktivist’ training

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:02 PM SUNDAY: Most of the time when we mention a city councilmember’s visit to West Seattle, it’s in connection with a meeting or a walking tour, staples of an elected official’s life. But Councilmember Mike O’Brien came here this morning for something entirely different:

He was among those who participated this morning in the latest round of “kayaktivist” training in advance of the on-water demonstrations planned when Shell‘s Arctic-offshore-drilling rigs get to Terminal 5. The activist coalition that’s organizing them has been leading kayak training with Alki Kayak Tours at Seacrest, roughly twice a week for the past few weeks. Our partners at The Seattle Times covered this morning’s session too, and photographer Ken Lambert went out on the water for this photo he tweeted:

The Times’ story with Ken’s photos is here. O’Brien chairs the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee, which on Tuesday will consider a resolution that voices opposition to Arctic offshore drilling and urges the Port of Seattle to reconsider the lease with Foss that is bringing the Shell rigs here. The first to arrive in Washington waters, the drilling platform Polar Pioneer, is still in Port Angeles; a Chamber of Commerce webcam there still has it in sight; live image here, and here’s a screengrab from earlier today (used with the PA C of C’s permission):

No date set for its expected tow to Terminal 5; the other drill rig Shell has said it hopes to use in the Arctic Ocean this summer, the drillship Noble Discoverer, left its latest stop, off Honolulu, more than a week ago and is not back in MarineTraffic.com range yet. The only Shell ship to visit Terminal 5 so far, the icecutter Aiviq, is back there now after some time in Port Angeles. As announced in mid-April, the anti-drilling coalition has set May 16-18 for a “festival of resistance” starting with a kayak flotilla.

ADDED 8:42 AM MONDAY: Regional news orgs are reporting that Mayor Murray announced at a breakfast event today that the city has determined new/renewed permit(s) will be needed before Shell’s rigs can come here. We’re working to find out more and will have a separate story soon.

Terminal 5 updates: Vehicle carrier due in; new security proposal

April 27, 2015 7:25 pm
|    Comments Off on Terminal 5 updates: Vehicle carrier due in; new security proposal
 |   Port of Seattle | West Seattle news

Two updates on the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle:

VEHICLE CARRIER ON THE WAY: The vehicle carrier Ryujin is expected at T-5 tonight (unrelated to the Foss/Shell operations for which a third of T-5 is currently leased.). Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB, “It will be delivering 2,400 autos that will be stored there for up to a few weeks. There may be other car-carrying vessels over this time frame as well. At some point they will be loaded back on to the vessel and off to their planned destination.” (MarineTraffic.com shows the Ryujin currently near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. *Tuesday 6:49 am update – It’s just now passing Port Angeles.*)

SECURITY CONTRACT FOR T-5: One of the items on the agenda for tomorrow’s Port Commission meeting at Sea-Tac Airport is authorization for up to $3 million to be spent for T-5 security over the next 5 years. Here’s the agenda document:

The memo says security used to be the responsibility of whomever was leasing the terminal; since the lease expired last summer, the port has contracted with security guards, which cost almost $100,000 in the last three months of last year. They’ve already sent this proposal out to bid, with a contract to be awarded later this week, and expecting it will cost $400,000 to $600,000 a year. The memo also says the current “interim tenant” – which would be Foss – is picking up 25 percent of the security costs. The commission meeting is at 1 pm in the airport’s conference center and also is streamed live online.

FOLLOWUP: Shell drill rig still in Port Angeles, awaiting trip here

(Saturday photo by Chuck Jacobs)
Six days after arriving in Port Angeles, the drilling platform Polar Pioneer is still there, being prepared for its tow to West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The Peninsula Daily News reports that it’s an economic boom to PA – both from the workers that are getting it ready for the trip, and from tourists who have come to gawk at it. It’s expected to start heading this way by early May. When it gets here – it’ll be a gawk magnet even here in the big city. Remember the SBX floating radar platform that was here in 2011?

(WSB photo, August 2011)
Polar Pioneer is 25 percent taller – 355 feet, compared to the SBX’s 280. Pending the Polar Pioneer’s arrival, the icebreaker Aiviq remains the lone Shell-related vessel at Terminal 5; the other drilling vessel, Noble Discoverer (derrick height 170′), is still crossing the North Pacific, headed this way.

Meantime, Arctic drilling opponents are still preparing for rallies here, even before the Shell drill rigs get here. The Shell No” coalition sent this photo of banner-waving on the foot/bike bridge over the Fauntleroy approach to the bridge this past Monday evening:

They’re planning to rally at Myrtle Edwards Park at 2 pm this Sunday in addition to already-announced mid-May actions – that’s the rally announced during the “encouragement march” in West Seattle earlier this month. A kayak flotilla is also planned for May 16th, with ongoing training at Alki Kayak Tours in West Seattle – a session at 5 pm tonight is for would-be trainers.

And the Port of Seattle already has a webpage linking to its reminders and background about the T-5 situation, pending the start of protests and arrival of more vessels, including a link to the Coast Guard’s announcement of “safety zones” and a “voluntary free-speech zone.”

Shell Arctic-drilling equipment @ Terminal 5: Plans for ‘resistance’ and ‘safety zones’

With the platform and vessel that Shell hopes to use for Arctic drilling getting closer to Western Washington waters, opponents of their expected stay at Terminal 5 have announced a schedule for protests, while the U.S. Coast Guard has announced “temporary safety zones” as well as a “voluntary First Amendment zone” worked out with potential waterborne protesters.

First, here’s where it all stands:

Two months have passed since the Port of Seattle announced it had signed a lease with Foss for a third of the idle-since-last-summer Terminal 5 expanse in West Seattle, with Foss expecting to host Royal Dutch Shell offshore-drilling equipment that would eventually head to the Arctic if Shell gets final federal approval.

Since then, as reported here and elsewhere, there have been protests, legal action, and preparation, and more in the works.

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT TERMINAL 5 NOW: Foss and the port have said preparatory work is already under way.

WHERE ARE SHELL’S DRILL RIGS? The Polar Pioneer, crossing the Pacific on the deck-cargo ship Blue Marlin, is expected in Port Angeles on Friday, with a two-week stay there before moving on to Seattle, reports The Peninsula Daily News. The Greenpeace activists who climbed onto it and camped out for five-plus days came down last Saturday, citing stormy weather; a federal judge in Alaska later granted Shell’s request for a court order against them. Their boat the Greenpeace Esperanza is still tailing the Polar Pioneer/Blue Marlin as far as we know.

The Noble Discoverer, the drilling vessel that was here in 2012 before it (along with the now-scrapped Kulluk) got into trouble in Alaska, is still crossing the Pacific too.

(2012 photo by Long B. Nguyen)
It stopped a week ago in the Marshall Islands port of Majuro, and then was reported to be Hawai’i-bound. Majuro to Honolulu is 2,300 miles; then it’s another 2,600 miles to get here.

OTHER SHELL VESSELS: The Coast Guard’s announcement today mentions the Aiviq:

That’s a photo we took while the Aiviq was here with other Shell-related vessels in 2012 (MarineTraffic.com shows it currently moored in Everett).

PORT COMMISSION: Its public meeting yesterday afternoon at Pier 69 was the first in three meetings that did not include dozens of speakers on the subject of the Terminal 5 lease. Four people did speak, all voicing opposition to the lease and concern about Arctic drilling and climate change. The bulk of the comment period was spent on other Port of Seattle business, primarily plans for a new international-arrivals facility.

COAST GUARD ANNOUNCEMENT: From the full announcement published today, which you can read here:


… A 500-yard safety zone [above] will be in place around the Noble Discoverer, Blue Marlin, Polar Pioneer, Aiviq and other Arctic drilling related vessels while underway. A 100-yard safety zone will be in place around the same vessels while moored or anchored. …


…The Voluntary First Amendment Area [above] is a regulated navigation area in Elliott Bay, developed following discussions with several special interest groups, where the Coast Guard recommends, but does not require, those desiring to express their views on Arctic drilling assemble. It is a no wake area where individuals can congregate without compromising their personal safety or jeopardizing the safe navigation of maritime traffic around them. …

As you can see from the map, that zone will be off the West Seattle shoreline north of T-5. As for when it might be used …

‘RESISTANCE’ PLANNED FOR MAY 16-18: In addition to the already-announced downtown waterfront rally on April 26th, opponents have announced “three days of creative, people-powered resistance to Shell and the climate crisis” for May 16th through 18th, including a kayak flotilla on the first day. Their plan detailed on this website vows to “transform … Terminal 5 and Harbor Island into a festival of resistance that will nonviolently block Shell’s preparations for Arctic drilling.”

VIDEO: ‘Port Encouragement March’: 50+ walk from Junction to T-5

3:23 PM: This rally was just the start, promised speakers at the rally that wrapped up today’s “Port Encouragement March” about an hour ago, with more than 50 people walking from Walk-All-Ways in The Junction to the 5-way intersection by Terminal 5, west of the low bridge, in hopes of “encouraging” the Port of Seattle to cancel the T-5 interim lease that will bring Shell Arctic-drilling equipment here.

Encouragement March almost to 35th and Alaska. #westseattle

A video posted by West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) on

The march was peaceful and relatively low-key – several speakers and a song at the end; walking along from The Triangle to the end of the route, we noted lots of sign waving along the way, some horn-honking from passing motorists, one bicyclist telling the marchers “thank you.”
Seattle Police officers on bicycles accompanied the march, which stayed on sidewalks/trails throughout.

ADDED 4:37 PM: Here’s how it unfolded: Participants gathered at Walk All Ways in The Junction, including the Raging Grannies:

Today’s march segued from a standing monthly rally to encourage people to take action against climate. Marchers headed east on Alaska – along the way, American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle offered a “hydration station”:

Staying on sidewalks and trails along the way, the group headed down 35th to Avalon:

On Avalon, the police bicycle escorts blocked traffic at the Genesee stoplight for an extra few moments so everyone could cross safely:

Turning onto the Alki Trail under/alongside the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, the marchers were urged to stay single-file so bicyclists could get past them. Those with signs held them high to catch the eyes of drivers heading westbound on Spokane:

Rather than going all the way to the gates of Terminal 5, the group stopped by the 5-way intersection west of the low bridge and listened to a few short speeches before the rally ended.

Organizer Stu Hennessey, a longtime West Seattle community advocate, said he felt “betrayed” by the Port’s decision:

Speaking second, Zarna Joshi of Rising Tide, who said there is more at stake than people realize:

She criticized Port Commissioner Tom Albro for telling her he wouldn’t take action to try to cancel the lease, even though he personally opposes Arctic drilling. (At the last Port Commission, as we reported in as-it-happened coverage, both Albro and Courtney Gregoire, the other anti-drilling commissioner, had said they won’t take action to try to cancel it.) Organizers of today’s march included the Green Party of Seattle and Greenpeace, which also provided a speaker:

She said another rally is being planned for April 26th, after the expected arrival of Shell equipment including the drilling platform Polar Pioneer, now in the North Pacific and being trailed by a Greenpeace boat. No counter-protesters showed up today, but supporters of the 2-year lease for Foss to use a third of T-5 say it will provide hundreds of jobs and that it’s better to have a company like Foss, which has a good environmental record, handling this work, than someone else.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commission again hears comments on Terminal 5 lease; commissioners say they won’t seek to cancel it

1:16 PM: We’re back at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center for the Port of Seattle Commission‘s regular meeting. Nothing regular about the meetings lately, as the public-comment period two weeks ago ran more than 3 hours, with almost 80 people commenting about the port’s controversial lease with Foss to host part of Shell‘s Arctic-drilling fleet on part of West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The gallery is full again today – more regional media has shown up than two weeks ago, too – and we will chronicle as it goes.

Public testimony is first on the agenda. #1 – A representative of the Building and Construction Trades says they support the lease because of the jobs it will provide and “the dreams of the future. … We would hope the port follows through with this lease so we can build for the future …” #2, Jordan Royer, representing the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, terminal operators and shipping lines. “This is important because it allows you to reinvest into the terminal, to be competitive on the world stage. … We lose the port, we lose manufacturing … My biggest concern is that if for some reason political winds take your eye off the ball and your core business, that it will be difficult to get other maritime businesses to look at this port as competitive.” #3, Emily Johnston from 350.org, refers to the taped comments by Commissioner Bill Bryant published by The Stranger: “‘You silly people,’ leave these decisions to the grownups – that is in effect what (supporters) are saying. … (But) the so-called grownups have failed us … Scientists have told us this is a catastrophic project and the regulatory bodies have failed to step in.” She mentions that the Obama Administration is likely to give permission for Arctic drilling, maybe even today. She says the lease is “supporting catastrophic climate change … You are all addicts, and this is your intervention. … All lives are on the line.” First applause of the meeting. #4, Cameron Williams, with ILWU Local 19, saying he represents about 3,000 dock workers. “I commend the commission for (moving forward with) the lease.”

#5, Paul Stevens, president/CEO of Foss, thanking the commissioners. He notes that 164 are “working to support our project at T-5,” including “101 at the facility,” a dozen of them Foss employees. “We have contributed $3 million in revenue to the port since signing the lease.” He mentions that they expect to bring non-Shell projects in, as well. And he says maritime competition is tough and faced by this area – and that the competitiveness is enhanced if there’s certainty that political pressure won’t affect deals. #6, a man identifying himself as an Edmonds resident. He says opposition to this and to drilling is “alarmism.” #7, Beth Smith of Foss says having local oversight of this project will make a difference. #8, a woman wearing a red T-shirt reading “The People vs. Shell.” She says Greenpeace has a ship in the Pacific “keeping an eye on Shell’s massive drilling ships as they head north” and promises to “shine a light on one of the most dangerous drilling projects in the world.” #9, Zarna, in the same T-shirt, saying she’s with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. She acknowledges that jobs matter, but “Shell and oil workers around the country are striking, and have been striking for 2 months, for health and safety reasons.” She says she has spoken to workers in Anacortes who told her about deaths on the job. “When you say this is about jobs, it’s not true – it’s about money” and says Commissioner John Creighton received campaign contributions from executives of Foss and its parent company Saltchuk. “How much money will it cost to buy you back?” she yells, and presents the commission with a symbolic “blank check.”

#10, another man in the same T-shirt. He says he apologizes to his brothers and sisters in labor, “but jobs go up and down, and particularly with wise leaders, we can increase jobs with good jobs, quality jobs, but the climate is on a descent straight down.” He says Commissioner Bryant’s remarks included ridiculing his kayak, and says he’s sorry that commissioners no longer seemed to be supporting the reasons he voted for them. “I have only a few more years to live. It’s not about me … (future generations) are going to live with (the results of this). We have a blessing here, and we’re destroying it for money – Shell profit. I like Foss, Foss has been around a long time, has done a good job, but Foss has sold their name to Shell.”

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE CONTINUES AFTER THE JUMP:
Read More

Followup: Comment deadline for port’s decision that upgrading Terminal 5 is environmentally non-significant; see neighbors’ letter

Back on Friday, thanks to a tip, we reported on the looming deadline for telling the Port of Seattle what you think about a Terminal 5 issue that’s not directly related to the Shell drilling-fleet controversy: The fact the port has declared the long-term modernization project will be environmentally non-signficant and therefore doesn’t require an environmental-impact study. Some West Seattleites disagree and are sending in their comments by today’s deadline, including a letter that we’re told represents more than two dozen residents in East Admiral, just upslope from T-5. One of their points:

The road traffic resulting from simultaneously unloading two post-Panamax ships will cripple the already congested West Seattle bridges. We do not have an answer to this, nor does the Port. Therefore, we recommend an environmental impact study be done to understand the traffic solutions before reaching the point of no return.

They also suggest the port is gambling a quarter-billion dollars or so on this without knowing whether the market might change irreversibly in the few years T-5 will be closed. Here is their full letter:

They’re also sending it to city and county leaders and asking for their support. As explained in our Friday report, the documents about the “non-significance” decision are here, and comments can be sent to SEPA.p@portseattle.org.

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