Seattle terminal lease challenged by environmentalists

At issue was a two-year lease of Terminal 5 in Seattle to Foss Maritime for short-term moorage and vessel operations associated with Shell’s pending resumption of offshore exploration in the Arctic. The Seattle Port Commission signed the lease in February, but that was quickly followed by a lawsuit from several environmental organizations to stop it. The lawsuit says the port violated state law by not doing a proper environmental review with public input before signing the lease for this particular use. 

Terminal 5 is scheduled to be redesigned and upgraded over the next several years, but an interim tenant, such as Foss, fits the near-term needs of both the port and Foss/Shell. 

The lease is expected to pay the port about $13 million over two years. 

At the March 10 meeting, a motion, set for vote at a future port commission meeting, would require that all Shell vessels be gone within two years, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The motion also said that the port commission would take over all future details of the controversial deal with Foss.

“We are not changing terms of the lease,” said Seattle Port Commissioner Tom Albro. “We are, essentially, owning the lease as an executive action and determining what will happen there.”

— Bruce Buls

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