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    ShellNo flotilla protesters demonstrate in the Puget Sound against the arrival of the Shell Oil Company's drilling rig Polar Pioneer in Seattle, Washington, May 14, 2015

    Activists Slam Shell, Surround Polar Pioneer off Seattle Coast

    © REUTERS / Matt Mills McKnight
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    In the latest episode of the BradCast on Radio Sputnik, Brad is joined by Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien to discuss the Polar Pioneer offshore oil rig. Parked – perhaps illegally – off the Washington coast, the massive rig has been surrounded by kayaking protesters.

    The rig, owned by Shell Oil, is en route to the Arctic, where it plans to drill. Protesters are concerned that the plan could be a repeat of the massive 2011 spill in Nigeria, in which Shell dumped nearly 40,000 barrels of oil off the coast of the Niger delta.

    In its journey north, Polar Pioneer has temporarily docked in Elliot Bay, a move which O’Brien says is a "violation of the existing permits."

    "We are working on enforcement actions to get them back in compliance," O’Brien says.

    "Unfortunately, the remedy for us is to issue fines which escalate up to $500 a day, which for a company like Shell is really a meaningless amount of money…but it demonstrates their blatant disregard for local laws."

    O’Brien has also taken to the water himself, joining the kayaking protesters in their efforts.

    "For me, because it’s happening right here in my city, on my waterfront, I frankly can’t just stay in my chambers and work on this," O’Brien says. "I felt the need to get out there and join with my fellow citizens to be part of the activity on the water."

    "The number of us and the size of us compared to this monstrosity is a monument to the hubris of the oil industry," he adds.

    environmental activists, Polar Pioneer, oil drilling, Mike O'Brien, Arctic, United States, Seattle
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