EVERETT -- Despite protests from environmentalists and Seattle city leaders, Royal Dutch Shell is still planning to move its Arctic oil drilling rigs to a Seattle port terminal.
One oil rig, the Noble Discoverer, docked in the Port of Everett Tuesday night. A group of “kayak-tivists” were waiting for them.
“We’ve been calling it an unwelcome party,” says Cassady Sharp of Greenpeace.
Another oil rig, currently moored off Port Angeles, is expected to be moved to Seattle this week.
Even more protesters are expected later in the week, when Shell brings its Arctic Exploration fleet to the Port of Seattle. They say they’re not going to try to block the vessels.
“We just want them to know that everybody is aware of what they're doing, and we're watching their every move.”
Some are hoping the move to Seattle won’t happen after a heated debate at the Port of Seattle Commission meeting earlier Tuesday.
“You heard endless testimony from people who are deeply concerned about Arctic drilling, from a climate perspective, from a conservation perspective,” says Kurtis Dengler.
The city of Seattle ruled oil rigs should not be moored at Terminal 5, which is currently only permitted to be a cargo terminal.
The Port of Seattle Commission says they will appeal that decision. They also approved a motion Tuesday asking Foss Maritime, the company working with Shell, to delay any action until that appeal can be heard.
But the head of Foss Maritime says he’s still planning on bringing the rigs down this week.
“From our perspective, we have a customer that has a schedule that they have to keep, and we have a lease arrangement with the port,” says Paul Stevens. “We’re not doing anything there that we didn't tell the port we're going to do when we signed the lease.”
So the activists say they are getting ready for an even bigger showing of opposition this weekend.
“It's an outrage,” says Zarna Joshi. “An outrage to our waters, an outrage to our city, it's an outrage to our laws.”
Seattle’s mayor put out a statement Tuesday night commending the Port Commission for their vote. He went on to say, “I now hope Shell will respect the wishes of the port, the city and the community at large, and not bring an off-shore drilling rig into Elliott Bay.”