#YouShellNotPass: The Battle Between Seattle and Shell Rages On
Just two days after the #PaddleInSeattle kayaktavists took the the water surrounding Shell’s flotilla, the fight against arctic drilling continued. Hundreds of activists woke up early to march to the Port of Seattle, where they blocked both entrances to Terminal 5, effectively stopping workers from arriving for the morning shift. The climate activists followed with an all-day festival at the terminal, which featured colorful banners and signs, a DJ, and an anti-Shell dance party. They stayed until 3pm and blocked the evening shift of port workers, thus successfully halting Shell’s operations for the entire day.
While the event was a non-violent direct action where police repression was certainly possible, there were no arrests and the interactions between protesters and police seemed to remain peaceful.
Shell’s 400-ft Polar Pioneer, and it’s support tug, Aiviq, have been a source of controversy in Seattle for the past few months. Shell came to an agreement earlier this year with the Port of Seattle, after months of secret negotiations with the port commission, where each participant agreed to verbal nondisclosure. There seemed to be environmental objections among every member of the commission, but they still unanimously agreed to the proposal. There was only a five day public comment period for the citizens of Seattle, and very few people were informed. In the words of city council member, Mike O’Brien:
“If one were to run an actual public process, the port would have heard loud and clear from the public, ‘Please don’t do this’. Whoever’s in charge of the port knew the answer they would get, so they designed a process that was very secretive with the absolute minimum of public input as possible.”
Earlier this month, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development decided that Shell’s host, Foss Maritime, would have to file for special permits. The Port of Seattle and Foss Maritime both filed an appeal, characterizing this decision as politically motivated and irrational.
On Monday, Seattle issued a violation notice, stating that Shell’s floating drill rig was violating the rules of Terminal 5, a cargo terminal. The Seattle Department of Planning and Development said that the huge flotilla must be removed from the terminal by June 4th, unless Foss Maritime obtains the appropriate permits.
As long as the battle between Seattle and Shell continues, so will the direct action!
Check out the coverage from yesterday’s direct action below: