(WSB photo: Terminal 5 as seen from east Admiral this afternoon)
Port of Seattle commissioners meet tomorrow for the first time since it was publicly disclosed that the port had signed the lease with Foss Maritime that will bring Shell‘s Arctic-drilling-fleet vessels to West Seattle’s closed-since-last-summer Pier 5. Port CEO Ted Fick signed it on February 9th, and the commission met on February 10th, but the signing wasn’t brought to light until a February 11th letter to the environmental coalition that had not only urged the port not to strike the deal, but held a media event hinting at legal action.
While the T-5 lease is not an official agenda item for tomorrow’s meeting, the opposition coalition plans to bring it up during public-comment time at the meeting, which starts at 1 pm in the Sea-Tac Airport conference room. Emily Johnston from 350 Seattle tells WSB, “Legal action is still definitely being considered, and we’re definitely moving forward in other ways as well: primarily, persuading the Port to rescind the lease, or to work with Foss to mutually abandon the lease, or to do whatever else they need to do *not to play a supporting role in Arctic drilling*. The Port is a public entity, and it has not been acting responsibly as such; at a minimum, they need to pull back and hold hearings. … Working on their process so that “next time” they know how to manage a controversial decision like this isn’t good enough: this particular decision is as consequential as any they will ever have, and they need to make the right one, and nix the lease.” The “process” refers to a directive given by commissioners when they agreed January 13th to let staff continue negotiating the lease, saying they needed to come up with procedures for policies that could guide staff in the future. A briefing on that potential process change is on tomorrow’s agenda.
We also sought an update today from Foss’s spokesperson, who had indicated that more details of the T-5 plan would be available by now. We haven’t heard back yet but will include anything that we do find out. Tomorrow’s commission meeting, meantime, is open to the public; the commission’s public-comment rules are here.