Don’t Allow Big Oil to Exploit City’s Residents


Target: Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire

Goal: Allow the people of Seattle to debate making their city home to Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet.

Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet was given a home in the Port of Seattle without allowing citizens to decide whether this was acceptable. The decision was made with almost no notice to the people of Seattle, eliminating the possibility for debate. The deal was allegedly kept largely secret from Seattle residents, who generally oppose big oil and would be unlikely to support the use of a publicly owned port to house the fleet.

Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling operation could have monumental consequences in the event of a spill. A recent study showed that there is a 75 percent chance of two large oil spills in the Chukchi Sea, one of Shell’s drilling areas, if oil is found there. Arctic drilling is very expensive and Shell has already spent $6 billion on their drilling operation without finding anything. Using the publicly funded Port of Seattle for an operation that has a serious chance of endangering the environment without the public’s consent is dishonest. Because Seattle residents pay for the port, they should have more of a say in whether Seattle should be the home of Shell Oil’s fleet.

The people of Seattle deserve a voice. Though many of Seattle’s port commissioners claim to be environmentalists, their actions reflect a valuing of profits over environmental causes. This issue needs to be discussed among the people of Seattle, who likely do not want to be responsible for housing a fleet that may cause an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. This should have been a decision that Seattle people had a part in. Ask the Co-President of the Port of Seattle Commission to put this issue up to debate so that everyone gets a say, not just those who are benefited by the decision.


Dear President Gregoire,

When the port commission made the decision to allow Shell Oil to make the Port of Seattle its home for its Arctic drilling operation, it welcomed in a potentially dangerous industry for profit. Shell’s Arctic drilling operation has been unsuccessful so far, and studies show that other drilling operations have a high potential for spills. The people of Seattle pay taxes for the port, meaning their money is indirectly going to support the oil industry.

The people of Seattle feel that this decision was made behind closed doors with very little input from the taxpayers. They deserve to debate this, not have the decision made without their knowledge. Please reconsider the commission’s actions and allow the Seattle public to voice their concerns about the issue.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Olav Gjerstad via Wikimedia Commons

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