If you were passing the corner of 4th and Jefferson on June 21, you saw protestors on the sidewalk adjacent to the downtown Shell station, holding signs reading “SHELL NO” and “MEDIA BLACKOUT???” If you weren’t driving (or rolled down your windows), you’d have heard voices raised to denounce Shell Oil’s plans to begin oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, in spite of having no plan in place to deal with even a small oil spill, much less a disaster such as befell the Gulf of Mexico or Valdez, Alaska.
The protest was in support of an organization called sHell No, which sought to prevent a drilling ship with the astonishing name of Noble Discoverer (sHellNo.org offers some colorful alternate names for it) from leaving the Port of Seattle. The organization says they are not giving up, and hope to persuade one or more government agencies in the U.S. or Canada (or Native American governments) to call a halt to attempts to extract oil from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
The fact that global warming is now so advanced that it is even possible to attempt oil drilling in the Arctic creates additional grim humor to an already absurd situation, but Shell is determined to plow on ahead with yet more oil drilling. Just in case anyone was wondering why one of the company’s not-so-affectionate nicknames is “The Dutch Bastards.”
By John M. Burt