Because of kayaktivist protests against Shell, the Port of Seattle turned Secretary of State John Kerry away from Seattle when he came to town to talk about trade.
The Associated Press has the scoop:
Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw said State Department staffers had been looking at Seattle locations for Kerry to speak, including a downtown hotel. But McGraw said the Port advised the State Department to look elsewhere because of the Arctic drilling demonstrations.
"With all the hoopla we were juggling, it was an opportunity best presented to others," McGraw said Tuesday. "We just let them know that we had our hands full with other events, if they had other locales they were best for them to pursue."
Kerry still delivered his trade speech at Boeing's 737 facility this morning to tout the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the controversial trade deal that inspired the Seattle city council to unanimously denounce President Obama's option to fast-track the deal through Congress in March. (Fast-track would mean giving the president authority to move the deal through the legislature without filibusters or amendments.) On Monday, the Washington State Labor Council asked elected officials to boycott Kerry's appearance.
So, if Kerry wasn't paying attention to the protests before, perhaps he is now. Last weekend's protests also garnered the attention of Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. During Shell's yearly general meeting in the Netherlands, van Beurden told shareholders that he thought the Port of Seattle's lease with Foss Maritime was "legally valid." (This, despite the fact that the city just issued a notice of violation against the port, Foss, and Shell. So it doesn't appear to be, you know, legal, at least in the city's opinion.) Van Beurden said that the company would continue preparing the Polar Pioneer in Terminal 5 before it hits the Chukchi Sea. "We have not seen, apart from the protests, any legal obstacles for us to do that," he said.