Guest Editorial: Seattle Port Commissioners Turn a Blind Eye to Climate Change


While I agree on the gravity of the issues involved, I don't think the Seattle Port Commission is a sensible place to be pursuing a national energy policy. I'd maybe support it if I thought it would be effective, but these rigs are going to be based somewhere and there's nothing the Port of Seattle can do about it.
Always good to hear from McGinn - thank you!
Is the Greenpeace signature an implicit threat of vandalism and sabotage if Shell's plans continue?…
Burn baby burn
@1) "...[T]hese rigs are going to be based somewhere and there's nothing the Port of Seattle can do..."

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." ~ E. Burke
We need oil until other means of powering our vehicles are widely available and affordable, and also powerful enough. So I welcome Shell. You should too, unless you environmentalists want to continue to bask in your hypocrisy.
Fossil fuels always lead to greed, hypocrisy, & terrorism.

@7 I too remember the great peat riots of 1970.
@6: Oil as a commodity is in the crapper right now (not to mention the drinking water of Glendive, Montana, where another pipeline ruptured over the weekend) because there is a massive surplus. We should use every bit of breathing room that comes our way to reduce demand and extraction, and increase efficiency.
@6 translated: "I want my cheap gas so I can have the freedom to drive by myself anywhere I want in whatever gas guzzler I choose, and I don't care if I have to sacrifice future generations to a dead planet to get it. Fuck them."
What a power trio! Great piece!
The port of seattle is a tax subsidized fantasy land of global expansion. The politically appointed shitbag commissioners ( Gregiore!) just showed how flimsy of a scam they are running. They talked for hours about the poor poor environment, and then voted against it.

We need an initiative to pull the ports taxing authority. Maybe if they had to deal with actual reality they would stop with the endless train of stupid.

Port commissioners are elected, not appointed, the port also generates revenue for both the city and county, I guess you're unaware that shipping companies pay to berth at Port of Seattle terminals, and airlines pay to land at Sea-Tac.

You really need to know what you're talking about before you start ranting

The largest investors in research into alternative energy are the evil oil companies. Oddly enough, while undoubtedly evil, they aren't also stupid. They realize to stay in business as fossil fuels reserves are used up or too expensive to jusify they must offer alternatives.

But they're undoubtedly evil. Just evil.

Oh, by the way. There's no 'we.' Private mineral rights are being used within national and international laws. So unless you personally hold such mineral rights there's no 'we.' But energy companies are all evil. Evil.

You mean- government entities are often inefficient and uninterested in the popular will of the folks they nominally serve? We put up with them where absolutely necessary, and shouldn't have to otherwise?

Gee, conservative types have been saying that all along.
@13 Sometimes, you get appointed before being elected... so says Dom…\
Courtney Gregoire Appointed to Port Commission
Posted by Dominic Holden on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM
@14, private investment in alternative energy is important, no doubt about it. Far more important than it used to be, or should be, thanks to the near-elimination of state-sponsored alternative-energy R&D in this country. And for sure, energy companies will take just as much power as we give them to extract the resources in our wallets far beyond the cost of production of WHATEVER energy sources they develop and control.

Know who is by far the biggest investor in alternative energy? China. Because their politicians are smarter than ours. And India is gaining fast.

Oh, by the way. As a U.S. citizen I do personally have an interest in mineral rights on public lands. Which the government all too frequently conveys to private companies for a song, privatizing profit and socializing all the hidden costs--negative health effects of product use at distant points, injured and disabled workers, environmental pollution and cleanup at the extraction site, etc., etc.
Seattle simply should not be enabling an operation that is highly likely to result in devastating spills in the Arctic, where oil will remain far longer in ecosystems because of lower temperatures. Prince William Sound is still impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill. We need a more thorough debate on this and not just see it rammed through. But I guess the Port commissioners' environmental commitments are an empty shell when Shell money is on the table.

Chinese politicians desperately need energy to power industry. 3 Gorges hydroelectric energy was insufficient a year before it was even producing for example. And oil means dependance on others to provide an increasingly scarce and expensive fuel for power generation. They're not smarter, they're responding to Chinese problems. But hey, I hear the place is a bastion of liberty and free thinking, as well as a socialist paradise. If you don't live in rural areas. Or urban. Or want things like pers i nal liberty and the freedom to think and speak as you wish. Or clean air or water or commercial products that aren't made with poisons. But feel free to move there any time, buddy!
As to leased mineral rights, they're done within legal frameworks. Don't like it, change the framework.

"And oil means dependance on others to provide an increasingly scarce and expensive fuel for power generation."

Yes. Even though the U.S. is probably a net exporter at the moment, that may not last, and it applies to us individually as well.

And I'm glad you appreciate the remaining tottering edifice of environmental and consumer regulations that keep air and water and commercial products mostly clean and safe, most of the time.…
The part that gets me is that this was done without rigorous debate. To build a new structure you have a public hearing and design reviews. To modify an entire slip to accomadate oil rigs, not a word. Whatever side of the debate you are on this precedent should scare you.
@21, who said they were modifying the terminal ?
Hey, is there a website we can sign a petition on? An email address we can write to about our concerns? Don't just tell us about the bad thing, tell us what we can do about it.
Coal trains, Shell's arctic drilling gear, everyone being priced out of living here... this is really shaping up to be a helluva year in Seattle. o_O
What a bunch of gloom and doomers. Let them park their rigs here and charge the hell out of them. Shell is going to drill regardless of the environmentalists.
If not Seattle it's handed to another port along the coast.

Seattle is chosen because...

A. Seattle is in America.
B. The company would not have to transport work.
C. No improvements to the port needed.


Dude. So people are going to start slaughtering innocents because we have a port that houses oil rigs when the weather is inhospitable?

Agreeing means jack shit. Take the money and run.
Why am I not surprised to learn of more knuckle dragging from the trogdolytes run the Pork of Seattle. These are the same clowns who staunchly oppose the $15/hr minimum wage (and labor unions in general), knocked themselves out to gentrify the crap out of the Central Waterfront, and didn't see a problem packing pleasure boats into the Fisherman's Terminal.

What will be their next trick? Trying to install a coal port to take up some of the slack caused by slipshod management that's causing them to lose business to the Port of Tacoma? I hope they don't whine or try to hit up the tax-strapped public when the sea unexpectedly and totally inundates their facilities. When it does they'll find out that karma's a bitch sometimes.
I think that, in true human fashion, we'll be off of this rock before it is rendered unusable.

The only way to stop that is to either wind the clock back a few hundred years or wipe out a sizable chunk of the population.

Or fail. You could just fail.
@26 - WHO "takes the money"? 10-to-1 it won't be "us" and go to, say, the BerthaTunnelDebacle, lowering rents, paying for mass transit, purchasing private helicopters for everyone, solving homelessness & poverty, repairing our infrastructure, etc. etc. etc.

No, the $$$ will go into fat cats Caymen Isl. bank accounts, and the Port Commissioner's "Governor Exploration Committee".

Don't make it easy for exploiters. Fuck Shell AND the drilling gear they want to park here.

@28 - You're insane. "We" won't be "off this rock" as an entire human species before climate change causes famine & floods coastal cities. Some people might orbiting space habitations, maybe. But even if we invent warp drive -and we might- we're not going to transport the entire world population AND enough plants & animals to sustain 20 billion people's lives ... to another planet elsewhere.

Deal with the issues now, don't let things fail and throw up your hands... "Oh, well I'll be dead, so it won't matter!"

Have an idea.

Assuming the fucking drill is fixed, it will be the city of Seattle's until it works no longer.

I'm insane?

You're telling me humanity won't be living in a fucked up smoggy waterworld eventually?
Like I said, Shell's gear will go somewhere.

You can put your head into the sand and pretend everything is peachy-keen or you can make some money.

As if the oil won't have been washed off before they return from the arctic.

I mean. Come on dude.
Cavitation won't be easy with little to no resistance. We're going local.
i would expect nothing less from the green-washing port of seattle...

recent schemes include:

- touting their green truck program which mandates that independent trucking companies (read, mostly small businesses with tight margins) going in and out of the port have super clean trucks (i believe '09 or better) when they buzz through the surrounding locales. but they fail to mention that the rigs in the port yards operated by the huge corps (one major one owned by goldman sachs for example) are exempt from over the road standards and spew black filth in excess on a daily basis around the clock.

- claiming to be the greenest port on the west coast, but failing to mention they calculate this by measuring total emissions - rather than on a per capita or per tonnage basis - then compare that to LA/long beach that dwarfs us in scale... btw, LA has much cleaner trucks and yard equipment than seattle

- they brag about using shore power for docked vessels - which they do for the cruise ships where the public does roam - but fail to mention that the cargo ships still burn filthy bunker fuel while docked to run their power generators.

- and now recently i have noticed rain barrels on all harbor island dock building gutter downspouts to collect and i suppose clean the rain runoff. i suspect they will brag about cleaning their runoff water soon if they haven't already in a way that makes it sound like they clean all runoff yet likely don't collect and filter the water from the storm drains at grade where all the oil leaking out of all the yard equipment goes (and there is a lot!) **note: this last point (and last point only) is merely speculation at the moment**
The 2 oil spills referenced here are found on page 368 of this Bureau of Ocean Energy Management lease sale draft:…