As most of you probably remember, this January, behind closed doors, the Port of Seattle agreed to let Shell Oil use Seattle as home base for its Arctic drilling operations – despite Shell’s terrible safety record, the risk of a major Arctic oil spill, and devastating impact it would have on our climate.
Our port commissioners hoped this deal would go unnoticed, but thanks to strong public activism they’re feeling intense pressure to cancel Shell’s lease – all thanks to thousands of emails, phone calls, and in-person testimonials!
I was honored to be able to testify at the Seattle Port Commission hearing last month to say no to Arctic drilling and keep Shell’s Arctic drilling armada out of Seattle’s port. Words can’t express how it felt to be part of a roomful of people speaking so passionately about protecting our Arctic Ocean. My heart swelled when we raised our hands in a show of protest against Shell. And so you can imagine how amazing it was to join hundreds of my fellow supporters on Sunday, April 26, to collectively draw the line and say Shell NO! to drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and more immediately, the housing of Shell’s Arctic fleet at Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle.
Perhaps the most amazing part about the rally event was that it attracted folks from all walks of life – students, families, professionals (young and old), grandparents – it was clear that our Arctic and our climate are issues that resonate with and affect us all. The rally itself featured several speakers and performances focused on climate change and the dangers of drilling in the Arctic Ocean, after which we marched a half-mile to the Seattle Port Commissioner’s office and delivered more than 8,000 comments from constituents asking the commission to rescind Shell’s Seattle Terminal 5 lease. They also delivered a customized “ShellNO!” Kayak, and invited the commissioners to the May 16 “Paddle in Seattle” event to stand up to Shell.
The event was hosted by a coalition of organizations including Alaska Wilderness League, 350 Seattle, Bayan, Backbone Campaign, Climate Solutions, Coalition for Port Accountability, Divest – UW, Green Party of Seattle, Greenpeace, Plant-for-the-Planet, Rising Tide Seattle, and Sierra Club – Washington State Chapter.
Stay tuned for more on how you can show your solidarity with the May 16 Seattle “kayaktivists” – on that day there will be hundreds of boaters on the water for a peaceful and family-friendly flotilla to express opposition to Arctic drilling. If you can’t attend yourself, we’ll be sharing a fun graphic that you can use online to show your solidarity with the Seattle protesters. We’ll also post images and highlight press from the event!
Until then, tell Secretary Jewell and the administration NO to drilling in the Arctic Ocean: http://bit.ly/snowballs_chance