SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Kayak/canoe flotilla protesting pipeline expansion

(First 2 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

A Canadian pipeline controversy drew protesters to the waters off West Seattle today. The flotilla was part of a day of sea and land demonstrations against Kinder Morgan, which has a terminal on Harbor Island. The company plans to expand its Trans Mountain Pipeline, from the Alberta tar sands to British Columbia, and opponents say that would mean a dramatic increase in oil tankers traveling in waters that are home to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, among other concerns.

Along with the kayak and canoe protesters, who ended up launching from east of Seacrest Pier, there were rallies and marching on land, including at Jack Perry Park along East Marginal, where a participant texted us this photo:

Here’s some backstory on the pipeline expansion, first proposed 4 1/2 years ago, and the controversy.

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: Two more West Seattle photos, shared by David Hutchinson:

24 Replies to "SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Kayak/canoe flotilla protesting pipeline expansion"

  • The truth May 20, 2018 (2:59 pm)

    Looks like a lot of those canoes are made out of plastic… this protest brought to you by irony…

  • JC May 20, 2018 (3:52 pm)

    Thanks to the protesters!!  I appreciate you being out there!  

  • Rick May 20, 2018 (4:40 pm)

    I love irony but am also able to recognize hypocrisy.

  • MJ May 20, 2018 (5:57 pm)

    Protesting an oil pipeline in a plastic canoe made out of oil is hypocritical.

    It’s sad that so many in this country choose to over consume limited resources.  These folks tend to also be the ones that scream the loudest when fuel costs go up.  

    Europeans pay significantly more for fuel, and the per capita consumption is way less!

    Pricing, say carbon tax or higher gas tax (infrastructure maintenance), is a mechanism that can be affective.

    A strait up carbon tax and simultaneously lowering the property tax could be discussed.

    • Duwamesque May 20, 2018 (6:39 pm)

      Protesting an oil pipeline in a plastic canoe made out of oil is hypocritical.”

      Such a tired trope, so what? You seem to forget the crucial difference that the plastic kayaks are not being burned into greenhouse gases and thus there is no contribution to climate change by owning a roto-molded polyethylene boat. You can oppose a pipeline that might lead to ecological disaster for the Salish Sea and fuel the planet’s warming and still use petroleum derived products. Demand for plastic kayaks is not driving fossil fuel demand, it’s primarily the use of internal combustion engines that keeps us building pipelines so the price at the pump doesn’t hurt so much. This is just such a lazy talking point and completely irrelevant to the actual discussion around these issues.

      • Wendell May 20, 2018 (8:38 pm)

        Great response.

      • Anonymous Coward May 21, 2018 (9:22 am)

        And, how, do you suppose the protestors got their kayaks to the boat ramp?  Did they carry them on their backs whilst riding their bikes?  Are they all 1%-ers who live in waterfront properties and simply stepped off their docks?  Did they use little wheelie push carts of some sort?  Or is just that they, being rich* Americans, already have all of life’s necessities** and even opportunity and means to pursue some of life’s carbon-enabled leisure activities and they’re worried about how they’ll be impacted if the rest of the world starts living like they do? 

        *In the global sense of “rich”

        **like enough out-of-season produce, meat, and cheese to have a healthy and well-balanced diet.

        • fundamental May 21, 2018 (9:59 am)

          It’s almost like you didn’t read the supplementary material supplied by the WSB.

          But of course you did read it, right?

          And from reading it you do remember that what you are doing right now is considered a logical fallacy?  Which means you shouldn’t do it?  Because you are deflecting away from the actual issue?  Right?

          • Anonymous Coward May 21, 2018 (1:05 pm)

            I’m making a moral argument, not a logical one.  I am pointing out that the rest of the world sees cheaper fossil fuels as a means to more fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.  We Americans, surrounded by our wealth and privilege, think cheaper fossil fuels means bigger pickup trucks driven by more people who don’t need them.  My reading comprehension isn’t the best so perhaps you can help me.  Which of the supplemental reading material addressed how the fossil fuels would be used and by whom?     

          • fundamental May 21, 2018 (2:07 pm)

            Moral or logical, your argument, such as it is, didn’t come across in your initial post.  My apologies for missing it, but when you use rhetoric like this:

            And, how, do you suppose the protestors got their kayaks to the boat ramp?  Did they carry them on their backs whilst riding their bikes? 

            Did they use little wheelie push carts of some sort? “

            Well, it reeks of you trying diminish a message by pointing out the hypocrisy of the messenger–something all too many are doing in these comments.

            I believe I now understand what you are getting at–and I agree with it to a large degree–and so, again, I apologize for my incorrect initial reading. 

    • Jort May 20, 2018 (8:32 pm)

      MJ, I have a question, maybe you can help me: what has a greater impact on climate change: some plastic kayaks, or the 3.22 trillion miles driven by vehicles in America?

      I’m curious why, given that disparity, somebody would choose to focus on the “hypocrisy” of people in kayaks?

      If one really wants to talk about hypocrisy, maybe we could talk about how many citizens in Seattle say they believe in climate change and want bold action taken … but somehow ignore that Seattle’s number one contribution to global carbon emissions is from personal automobile transportation. And these car drivers people fight tooth and nail for every single inch of roadway in the city, to accommodate their desire to drive.

      When people demand that the city make it easier for them to drive, they’re demanding that they be free to add billions more pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • Sassy May 20, 2018 (8:34 pm)

    BTW: Not all canoe or kayaks are plastic. Some are wood. My friend who protested has a kayak made out of wood. Many of the native tribe boats are wood.

    Bottom line: does it matter what kind of boat you protest in? Those who dis the plastic boat owners: what’s your real agenda? Guilty about your carbon footprint much? (Probably not.)

    Read the posts from 2015 that WSB so kindly posted on your behalf as a means to educate you.

  • dsa May 20, 2018 (9:18 pm)

    I am against this pipeline.  Why should we endanger waters that have little to no natural flushing with this threat?  There is little to no gain on our part, the oil is destined for foreign ports as described by Kinder Morgan’s linked statement: 

    “…With oil sands production expanding in Alberta in the years ahead, new
    markets and opportunities are emerging. As countries in Asia Pacific
    begin to develop the same quality of life we enjoy in Canada, they need
    to secure sources of energy …”

  • TreeHouse May 20, 2018 (10:27 pm)

    “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” – Teddy Roosevelt 

    . Thank you to the folks who took the time out of their day to stick up for our land and our natural resources.

  • SWinSW May 20, 2018 (11:32 pm)

    Yes, I am against the pipeline, as well. And, I am in full support of those that have used their time, resources and kayaks/tribal canoes to show their disapproval for this project.  

  • MJ May 21, 2018 (9:58 am)


    Why do continue to inquire questions of my comments?  And in fact if you had read my response I indicated support for higher fuel costs to help foster more efficient use of a limited resource that is affecting the Climate.

    The protesters need to be aware that if you are protesting an oil pipeline then walk the walk and do not protest via use of a product you are protesting against!


    • fundamental May 21, 2018 (10:24 am)


      The protesters need to be aware that if you are protesting an oil pipeline then walk the walk and do not protest via use of a product you are protesting against!”

      This argument is wrong.  That is what so many people are trying to tell you.  That line of argument is not a reasonable argument, in fact it is a logical fallacy called ad hominem tu quoque.

      Briefly, what it means is this: you are not paying attention to the veracity or import of what a person is saying–you are not paying attention to their actual argument (in this case the protest against Kinder Morgan).  You are deflecting away from the actual topic. 

      For more on this reasoning I STRONGLY recommend you read the articles WSB linked earlier in this thread–it’s an interesting and complicated topic but they lay out the case pretty well.  

  • MJ May 21, 2018 (10:56 am)


    I concur with concerns of the Protestors.  In fact I drive an electric vehicle!  

    Other people made the same comment as me regarding protesting in canoes made out of oil, yet my comment gets responded too.

    The fact is there are wooden canoes and electric vehicles available.  If you protest oil then use the available alternatives.  A plastic canoe and driving to the site in a gas vehicle is hypocritical!


  • Rusty May 21, 2018 (2:30 pm)

    This thread is great. So, according to the thread police, it doesn’t matter how someone is making their statement, it is a ‘logical fallacy’ to point out that HOW they make their point is filled with irony/hypocrisy. No, just listen to what they’re saying, because that’s all that’s important. Maybe I have that wrong, but it sounds pretty silly.

    I usually don’t agree with the kayaktavists, but in this instance I think they’re on to something. The pipeline from Alberta tar sands to BC will lessen the need for the Keystone-xl, which would transport oil to U.S. refineries and shipping in the gulf, depriving us of those jobs and resources, would it not?

    • fundamental May 21, 2018 (3:56 pm)

      Nothing wrong with faulting them for using plastic!  Nothing wrong with faulting them for owning cars!  My point is this: I think it’s WAY more important to pay attention to their message.  You want to complain about people using plastics or driving cars?  Look in any direction any day of the week and have at it.  Plenty of opportunity for doing that.  But when you specifically pick on people who are taking time out of there day to do something they really believe will make the world a better place?  That just seems pretty silly.

      Here is an analogous point, hopefully it will clarify the fallacy I’m talking about:

      Bob smokes cigarettes.  He at some point claims smoking is harmful.

      Mary says what are you talking about Bob?!?  YOU SMOKE ALL THE TIME!

      And the point Bob was trying to make…  Just sort of gets lost.  (But, spoilers, HE WAS RIGHT!)


  • MJ May 21, 2018 (2:50 pm)


    I drive a used electric car, not a Tesla (I wish), cut my small amount of grass with a push mower, installed efficient lighting before pricing dropped, bought a front loader washer way before they were in common use.  

    I work to keep my carbon impact minimal, since there are alternatives to plastic canoes and gas powered vehicles I would expect the Protestors to use the alternatives as an example to others!


    • fundamental May 21, 2018 (3:32 pm)

      “I drive a used electric car, not a Tesla (I wish), cut my small amount of grass with a push mower, installed efficient lighting before pricing dropped, bought a front loader washer way before they were in common use. “

      Sure, that’s great–I’m sure many (myself included) would applaud you for all that!

      But this discussion should not be about you, your car, your lawn mower.  This discussion should not be about plastic canoes.  

      This discussion should be about the point the protesters are making.  Don’t they–doesn’t anyone–at the very least deserve that?  That we listen to them?  That we really try to hear what they are saying?

      So let’s all forget for the moment they drive cars and use plastic and might even have kids (and isn’t that the single most environmentally destructive thing you can do?)–let’s forget all that and evaluate their message on its own merits.

      And that–that crucial bit–is what you and others are repeatedly failing to do.  You are not judging the protest–you never once mentioned Kinder Morgan–NOBODY bitching about the f@$king plastic canoes and kayaks has mentioned Kinder Morgan or their business policies and moves–but every third comment mentions plastic canoes and kayaks.  Now I know that you personally agree with their message–I do too, although to only some extent–but when you bring up the other stuff it just weakens that message you support.

      Everyone complaining about them driving cars, etc…  Listen, you gotta be better than this!  You owe it to your fellow people to consider what they are saying.  It is really easy to flippantly judge someone and then dismiss whatever they say–it’s easy and it’s fun.  But we gotta be better than that.  Listen to what they are saying…  You might just be like me and MJ and agree with the message.

  • CandrewB May 22, 2018 (8:38 am)

    Are they blaming Kinder Morgan as a way to deflect responsibility away from Trudeau and Canada (i.e. the Gold Standards in how we should be)?

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