That fuzzy rig in the background? Thats the Noble Discoverer, one of the rigs in Shells Arctic drilling fleet that could end up in the Seattle port.
That fuzzy rig in the background? That's the "Noble Discoverer," one of the rigs in Shell's Arctic drilling fleet that could end up in the Seattle port. Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

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Wowowowowowow. It appears that the environmental groups threatening to sue the Port of Seattle will make good on their word today.

A press release from a coalition of well-respected environmental organizations—including Earthjustice, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, and the Seattle Audubon Society—announced this morning that they're filing a lawsuit alleging that "the Port of Seattle violated the State Environmental Policy Act and Shoreline Management Act by leasing Terminal 5 to serve as a homeport for Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet."

So what does this mean for the port commissioners who knew about the Shell deal months before it ever became public? (Yeah. Read this.) It could mean that the commissioners looking for a way out of their own decision-making can now let the courts deal with it.

If this suit actually holds water, it could have serious national implications, coalition spokesperson Kenan Block says.

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"The port voiding this lease is not only the right thing to do locally, in terms of its impact, but would send the same sort of message [as passing] the $15 minimum wage last year," Block says. "It wasn’t just a local story—it had an impact across the country."

Translation: If enough people get outraged about Arctic drilling rigs in their ports, and, more broadly, demand politicians make a real transition from a globally destructive fossil fuel economy to a renewable one, then public opinion could aid in halting Shell's Arctic operations (or at least in delaying them).

The coalition is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. More details to follow.