The Port of Seattle decided — with almost no notice so it would slip by the public — to allow the Polar Pioneer drilling rig to dock in Seattle. It’s bound for the Arctic for deep water oil drilling. That’s one reason I’m not pleased – the port trying to bypass public debate.
Another is that Shell wants to drill in an Arctic region inhabited by polar bears, whales, walruses, hundreds of species of seabirds, and more. It was only five years ago that BP was determined grossly negligent for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing crud into the ocean for five months. Why should we believe Shell will do better? Another Shell rig, the Kulluk, ran aground off the coast of Alaska in 2012. The U.S. Coast Guard said this was due to the company’s “inadequate assessment and management of risks.”
The third and most compelling reason is the overwhelming evidence of global warming due to greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere. The climatic changes will drastically affect food and water resources in an overpopulated world, flood coastal areas, cause increasingly violent storms and temperature extremes, etc. One of the best things we can do is leave fossil fuels in the ground. Renewable solar and wind energy is approaching the price of coal and gas. Spend money pursuing that instead of a potentially disastrous project like Arctic drilling.
The Paddle in Seattle event and its flotilla of kayaks was designed to express the feelings that I outline above, among other things. Native Americans played a large role in activities. I took a few photos. More pictures and some film here from local TV.