Seattle’s kayaktivists should consider taking the ferry up to Alaska.
Their floating protests on Elliott Bay and shenanigans by Seattle politicians did nothing to disrupt offshore Arctic drilling by Shell.
President Obama ignored the hullabaloo and on Monday gave Shell a final permit needed to explore for oil deep below the Chukchi Sea.
That means it’s too late to change the president’s mind with protests. There is one more chance, though, to express displeasure over the Shell deal on Aug. 31, when Obama visits Anchorage for a conference on the Arctic and climate change.
Disrupting a gathering of leaders addressing climate impacts in the Arctic would be counterproductive for environmentalists. Yet protests are inevitable. Perhaps they’ll prod President Obama to further explain how he reconciles expanded drilling with his pledge to reduce global warming.
He’s already tried to explain that it’s better for America to use oil that’s extracted by companies operating under the strict environmental policies of the United States than to import oil from places with more lax standards.
Alaska is the ideal setting to discuss these geopolitical considerations and whether it’s better to let U.S. interests tap this reservoir.”
It’s unlikely the huge pool of Arctic oil will be left in the ground forever, as some advocate. Not with oil-hungry countries reaching into the Arctic from the other side.
Alaska is the ideal setting to discuss these geopolitical considerations and whether it’s better to let U.S. interests tap this reservoir. It’s also where the federal government would be held accountable if there’s a major spill.
No matter what, Shell’s exploratory work is proceeding, for better or worse.
Activists can kayak away on Puget Sound and in the beautiful waters around Anchorage.
But at this point, further attempts by Seattle politicians to prevent Shell vessels from using the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 would be ridiculous and petulant. The only possible outcome would be to send a harmful message they no longer welcome the maritime industry and have lost touch with reality.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Blanca Torres, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).
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