“Kayaktavists” Fail To Thwart Shell Oil Driller
After a dry run last month, the activists from Greenpeace, Rising Tide, and 350 had their main event on Monday, June 15th, as Shell’s Polar Pioneer arctic driller was set to be towed from Elliot Bay in Seattle up to Alaska.
The tug boats showed up to tow the giant driller, and the “kayaktavists” moved in to block whatever they could.
The Coast Guard moved in to break up the kayakers, and 24 people were detained, including Seattle city councilman Mike O’Brien, who said via his facebook page:
SHELL NO! Why I am out on Elliott Bay today
The past few months, I have been one of thousands of activists trying to stop Shell Oil’s irresponsible, reprehensible plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. We’ve fought to prevent Seattle from becoming the home base for Shells Arctic drilling fleet, but the bigger fight has always been about stopping Shell’s drilling plans.
We already have enough oil to safely transition away from fossil fuels to a clean energy future, but Shell’s attempt to drill in the Arctic is a blatant move of corporate greed at the expense of destroying the planet through climate disaster.
I’ve done everything I know how to do as a citizen, an activist, and as a City Councilmember to try and stop this disaster from happening. Today I am on the water to try one last attempt at stopping Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. And I am not alone.
O’Brien later told KIRO reporters “It was uneventful for a while, and an hour or two later, the big tug boats showed up and were preparing to pull the rig,” he said. “That’s when the various police agencies said, ‘we need to clear the way to get this thing out of here.’ And that’s when it got more contentious.
“The tug boats would move to the left, and we would move to the left, and they would move to the right, and we would move to the right,” O’Brien said. “And one by one, they started pulling the kayaks closest to them out of the water.”
Kshama Sawant, the infamous Socialist Alternative city councilwoman, released a statement that read:
“Congratulations to all the activists, including Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who tried to block the departure of Shell’s oil drilling rig as it was heading out of Seattle to the Arctic this morning.
“Activists were not afraid to stare down the 400-foot Polar Pioneer. They understood that courageous actions are necessary to stop the moves by Big Oil that will exacerbate the climate crisis. Even with the presence of the Coast Guard, the symbolic delay of the rig is a real show of people’s outrage.
“Shame on Shell for threatening the Arctic, negotiating the deal with the Port in secret, and completely ignoring the growing concerns among millions about climate change. Actions like those this morning continue to make it clear that people are tired of waiting for elected leaders to push back against Big Oil and tackle the issue of climate change.
“Capitalism and Big Oil have shown themselves incapable of a global shift towards clean, renewable energy. It will take mass movements with workers and environmentalists collectively fighting to end the dependency on fossil fuels. The Obama administration could have denied Shell the permit in the first place. The failure of every level of elected leadership demonstrates the urgency to have independent, anti-corporate candidates occupy positions of political decision-making.
“This is a crucial fight of our time, and millions of people across the world are watching us.”
The tug boats eventually made their way out, the Polar Pioneer, on their way to the arctic.
You may recall the kayak protest from this past May 18th, where hundreds of wacked out environuts took to the bay to surround the giant driller as a show of their opposition. This was followed up by blockading the port terminals and stopping trucks from getting in, with other protesters chaining themselves to barrels and other debris to block roads, and tying themselves to the anchor of another oil vessel in Bellingham.