Port Commissioner Bill Bryant
Stance on letting Shell's Arctic drilling rigs dock at Seattle's port in the off-season: Yes, please! "Rejecting this lease would be an act of political symbolism, but it would be symbolism at the expense of the middle class," Bryant said. He used the same family-wage-jobs argument to support the deep-bore tunnel project and its servant, Bertha (the drilling machine that's now been iconically stuck beneath Seattle for more than a year). Longshoremen did get behind the deal with Shell, but maybe they should remember that the company hasn't historically been a great friend to the labor movement. As of March 10, United Steelworkers union members have been striking for more than a month over wage and safety issues at refineries across the country; Shell is responsible for bargaining on behalf of the oil industry.
Environmental platform: "I am a committed conservationist."
Received campaign contributions from: Rainier Petroleum Corporation and SSA Marine, two companies accused of violating the Clean Water Act.
Hypocrisy factor: Five out of five dead polar bears.
Political ambitions: Considering a run for governor.
Stance on Arctic drilling fleet lease: Go right ahead! Creighton argued that rejecting a lease to allow Shell to moor in Seattle could lead to a slippery slope of other decisions policing the contents of containers at the port. "Are we to tell Louis Dreyfus—the operator of the grain silos at Terminal 86—that it is okay if they export grain, just not GMO crops disfavored by me and many other Seattleites?" Creighton asked. Creighton makes an interesting case, but it's also a case against fighting to change the status quo... ever. Why fight to change anything if the possibility exists that people might someday fight for a change you don't like? Commissioner Creighton also excuses himself from weighing the relative harms of the examples he mentioned. Most Seattleites are probably concerned about Big Ag practices, but it's far more troubling to consider that Arctic drilling will, according to a recent study in the journal Nature, tip global warming into crisis mode.
Environmental platform: Creighton ran on green initiatives—like investing in eco-friendly technology—in 2009. He also cited the Nature research showing that all Arctic oil and gas reserves ought to be considered "unburnable" if we don't want to push global warming above two degrees Celsius. How can Creighton stand by his green platform and enable Arctic drilling at the same time? We're not sure.
Received campaign contributions from: Owners and executives of Saltchuk Resources, the parent company of Foss Maritime. Foss is leasing Terminal 5 in order to moor Shell's Arctic drilling fleet. (In the deal, Shell is Foss's customer.)
Hypocrisy factor: Five dead polar bears.
Stance on Arctic drilling fleet lease: Business as usual. Bowman said she didn't like Arctic drilling and wanted to change the port's "guiding principles" for decisions like these going forward, but saw the true cop-out as making a decision without any agreed-upon guiding principles in the present. So she enabled Shell's Arctic drilling plans anyway. Translation: I really need to abandon my principles right now because no one's told me what kind of principles I'm supposed to have yet!
Environmental platform: Bowman ran on three messages for her 2013 campaign: middle-class jobs, environmental sustainability, and transparency. Her stance on the Shell lease directly contradicts both the environmental and transparency priorities.
Received a small campaign contribution from: Strategies 360, the lobbying firm hired by Foss Maritime.
Hypocrisy factor: Five dead polar bears.
Stance on Arctic drilling fleet lease: Opposed. Albro brought up a motion at the port's one public meeting on the Shell proposal that would have required the commission's approval for all short-term leases on Terminal 5. In effect, it could have stalled or prevented the lease—or at least put the issue to a vote. The motion failed to get a second and flopped. Port commissioner Courtney Gregoire, who also opposed the lease, says she didn't second the motion because it was too broad.
Environmental platform: Albro appears to be genuinely concerned about Arctic drilling, despite the fact that his environmental record at the port isn't too squeaky-clean. Environmentalists criticized Albro in the past for failing to get behind initiatives to clean up diesel truck pollution at the port, for example. Still, Albro sent out a mass apology to people who had e-mailed him about the port's decision. "I failed," he said, and promised to get the port to adopt better policies for the future.
Received campaign contributions from: Saltchuk Resources and Marine Resources Group (the company that later became Foss Marine Holdings).
What he should actually do: Not offer weak alternatives. Push the issue to a vote, get the port commission to rescind the lease, and get all commissioners to sign a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell telling her the Port of Seattle opposes all Arctic drilling.
Hypocrisy factor: Two dead polar bears.
Stance on Arctic drilling fleet lease: Opposed. "To those who will say [we] have no authority over drilling in the Arctic, [we're] just being asked to sign a lease in the regular course of business, it's not [our] role to consider these things, I say I just don't accept that as a public agency," she said at the January 13 public meeting on the Shell deal. Gregoire went on to make an impassioned argument about the devastating potential of Arctic drilling. Still, she didn't second Albro's motion that would have mandated the commission's approval for the lease.
Received campaign contributions from: Stanley Barer, chairman emeritus of Saltchuk Resources.
Political ambitions: Her mother was former governor Christine Gregoire. Nuff said.
What she should actually do: Not offer weak alternatives. Push the issue to a vote, get the port commission to rescind the lease, and get all commissioners to sign a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell telling her the Port of Seattle opposes all Arctic drilling.
Hypocrisy factor: Two and a half dead polar bears.