The beast that darkens my water view was scheduled to be towed to Seattle some time this week. That has been put on hold due to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development issuance of a code interpretation that requires an additional use permit for the rig and the two tugboats that go along with it. The rig was supposed to stay in Seattle until moving on to the Chukchi Sea along with the drilling ship Noble Discoverer which will arrive in mid-May. While not scheduled to moor at terminal 5 It has not yet been disclosed where it will be berthed or if it will face similar permitting issues. That ship is currently near Hawaii according to marinetraffic.com.
It seems there are some rules about what a cargo terminal can accommodate and oil rigs aren’t quite within the scope of allowable use for the terminal according to the city of Seattle. So the gears of government are grinding out, what? A new permit? I’m sure Shell has a fairly deep pocket. An order to take your business elsewhere? Port Angeles seems to be enjoying the monetary flotsam that follows this kind of operation. In the event that Noble Discoverer also takes shelter in our fair harbor the Port of Port Angeles Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren has already expressed his delight.
The original permitting for the use of Terminal 5 moorage was obtained in a less than public manner. Greenpeace and ShellNo.org have brought that out in the Seattle press and their own publications. The Department of Planning and Development is now more interested in making sure all their t’s are crossed in the light of day. Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray has stated “I expect the port to obtain all required city permits before any moorage or work begins at T5 on offshore oil drilling equipment.” One wonders why this wasn’t considered before Shell started moving all this heavyweight shipping across the ocean. Don’t they pay experts to think about these things?
The Mayor goes on, “While requiring a new permit may not stop the port’s plans, it does give the port an opportunity to pause and rethink this issue.” While all this thinking is going on there has to be some kind of meter running. I am constantly in awe of the vast resources of civilization spread out across the globe and the many things they are used for. And the things that go wanting. It all exists on a scale that a middleish class sort of person can’t grasp. One doesn’t know if they should be jealous or disgusted. It does indeed give us reason to think. To be open and innocent as children listening to Dr. Seuss, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Maybe we should do that more often.