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Shell responds to Department of Natural Resources

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Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24Shell responds to Department of Natural Resources

2 June 2015:

SEATTLE – There are new developments in the oil battle in Seattle.

Shell Oil is challenging the state’s opinion that docking the Polar Pioneer drilling rig in Seattle might violate the state constitution. And, there’s a new legal challenge to prevent Shell from drilling in the Arctic this summer.

Last month, the Washington state Department of Natural Resources sent Shell a letter advising that the West Duwamish Waterway, where the Polar Pioneer rig is now docked, is for navigation, not long-term moorage.

DNR asked Shell to explain how long its equipment will be there and whether it is coming back.

Shell has now replied that its ships will there through June and return in the fall.

Shell says it doesn’t need additional state authorization since those “activities are … typical of operations that occur at port facilities” and warns that singling out Shell “will have significant and unintended repercussions on the maritime industry at large in Seattle.”

Shell’s letter to DNR also reveals that it conducted simulations last December in conjunction with the Port of Seattle, which confirmed the navigability of the West Duwamish Waterway when its drilling equipment is docked there.

DNR says they are considering Shell’s response and how to proceed under the state constitution.

Also on Tuesday, the Sierra Club and nine other environmental groups sued the U.S. Interior Department to block the permit allowing Shell’s exploratory drilling operations. The suit was filed on behalf of native groups, who say drilling threatens the ecosystems and wildlife of the Arctic.

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