As the Port of Seattle joins with Tacoma to compete against other ports in British Columbia and California, concerns have arisen that it might be losing sight of some of key environmental goals, such as creating sustainable jobs.
The concerns come as Seattle moves forward with a controversial deal to temporarily host Royal Dutch Shell’s oil drilling fleet at terminal 5 in West Seattle.
Two rigs are headed for the Arctic later this summer, along with support vessels. And the port says it needs the revenue from that lease to pay for upgrades to the terminal and keep it competitive – for Panamax ships and other things in the long haul.
At the same time, Seattle has joined forces with Tacoma to bring in more revenue from lots of other kinds of shippers – and that agreement, called the Seaport Alliance - has some environmentalists crying foul.
Fred Felleman is the Northwest consultant for Friends of the Earth and served on a port citizens’ committee to develop future goals.
"We're going to be perfectly positioned to roll out the red carpet for Arctic exploitation - not for sustainable clean-green jobs that we worked so hard with the Century Agenda Committee to make our emphasis,"Fellemen said.
He says that Century Agenda is fading into the background.
Felleman has been watch-dogging the port for years. He’s also just joined the race for an open seat on the port commission.