This week, extreme “green” activists celebrated Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to withdraw for now from exploratory drilling in the Artic, even though it was the law of economics that determined the fate of of that project, not the rule of “kayaktavists.”
But, the same greenies (and the elected officials who pander to them) were certainly not celebrating a Seattle city hearing examiner’s decision to clear the way for Shell’s continued use of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 as a homeport for its Polar Pioneer and other support vessels. The Seattle Times,
“Deputy Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe said the city’s attempt to require a new land-use permit relied on “inaccurate and incomplete” characterizations of the work to be done…
“Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he was disappointed in Wednesday’s ruling. But he added in a statement that ‘Now is the time for us to come together to collaborate on new projects to support the growth of maritime jobs while protecting our natural environment.’”
An environmental coalition originally sued the Port in March after Foss Maritime, a shipping company, leased Terminal 5 to Shell’s rig. According to the Seattle Times, the two-year lease was expected to “create hundreds of jobs and keep revenue flowing in as the terminal is upgraded to accommodate bigger container ships.”
Though the extreme “green” coalition found it difficult to convince a King County Superior Court Judge to side with its bizarre arguments (which were based on purely ideological, not legal, grounds), it found favor with Mayor Murray. Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development—on behalf of Murray—decided (using a “tortured and novel legal analysis”) that Foss required a new land-use permit to utilize Terminal 5 for some of Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet.
Foss and Shell appealed the ruling. And, it’s that “tortured and novel legal analysis” that the city hearing examiner ruled strongly against.
Foss and Shell have yet to announce future plans for Terminal 5’s use. Foss said it is “awaiting decisions on which vessels will be returning to Puget Sound and where they will be moored.” While a Shell spokesman said the company is “now safely and methodically demobilizing” its fleet after the summer-drilling season in the Chukchi Sea, “how that will impact Seattle in terms of potential future asset staging has yet to be decided.”
But, thanks to the hearing examiner, at least the decision will be made on economic grounds, not ideological ones.